Miyu Kato, the Japanese tennis player who was disqualified from the French Open women’s doubles after accidentally hitting a ball at a girl in the neck, has found victory elsewhere in the Grand Slam tournament.
Kato was holding the mixed doubles trophy with Germany’s Tim Puetz after defeating Bianca Andreescu and Michael Venus, 4-6, 6-4, 10-6, on Thursday.
The 28-year-old Kato made some controversy when she was disqualified in the third round of women’s doubles while facing Marie Bouzkova and Sara Sorribes Tormo alongside her partner, Aldila Sutjiadi.
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The incident occurred during the second set as Kato hit a tennis ball off the court and it struck the neck of a ball girl who wasn’t paying attention. Kato’s decision to hit the ball came after a point was scored on her and Sutjiadi.
The girl was seen crying after the ball inadvertently struck her, and it ended the match abruptly.
FRENCH OPEN DOUBLES PLAYERS FORCED TO FORFEIT MATCH AFTER ACCIDENTALLY HITTING BALL GIRL IN NECK
The tournament referee and a Grand Slam supervisor convened on the court and the Kato-Sutjiadi team was disqualified.
“Obviously, it’s very unfortunate overall,” Bouzkova said after the match, according to the Tennis Channel. “Sara and I, we’ve never been in this kind of situation, so we were kind of shaken up by this as well. It’s just a tough situation for everyone. But it’s something that, I guess, has to be taken by the rules as it is, even though it’s very unfortunate for them.”
Kato was docked 21,500 euros in prize money as well as rankings points from women’s doubles following the incident. However, competing in other events at the French Open was allowed, and she made the best of it.
“It has been really challenging for me for the past few days,” Kato said via ESPN. “I want to thank all the players, coaches, everyone for their heartfelt messages of support.”
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Kato and Puetz were a formidable duo on clay as they didn’t lose a single set until the final. It is the first time they’ve played together at the French Open.