Women's doubles team Miyu Kato and Aldila Sutjiadi have been disqualified from the French Open.
The duo received a default in their third-round match-up against Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo and the Czech Republic's Marie Bouzkova. Losing the opening set with a sensational tiebreak collapse, the 16th seeds were 3-1 up in the second when Kato clipped a backhand onto the head of an unsuspecting ballgirl, causing her to burst out in tears.
The move from the Japanese ace did appear accidental. Kuto was eager for the match to resume and nonchalantly directed the ball from the court but, after consultation with the supervisor, a default was confirmed.
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Kato and Sutjiadi were initially handed a warning by on-field umpire Alexandre Juge but the decision was protested by Sorribes Tormo and Bouzkova. "This is default," they cried before Juge responded: "She didn't do it on purpose, she didn't get injured."
"But she's crying. She's crying," was the call from Sorribes Tormo and Bouzkova. The dispute saw Juge issue a code violation, which summoned Grand Slam supervisor Wayne McKewen to the court. Tournament referee Remy Azemar also arrived on Court 14, ensuing a lengthy conversation between the players, the officials and the ballgirl before it was ruled Kato and Sutjiadi were disqualified.
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The surprising default comes after Mirra Andreeva admitted she was fortunate not to receive a disqualification during her match against Coco Gauff. The Russian fired the ball into a packed Suzanne Lenglen stand during the first set of her eventual 6-7(5) 6-1 6-1 defeat.
"Right after I thought that it was a really stupid move from me because it was not necessary to do that," said the 16-year-old, making her Grand Slam debut. "It was really bad what I did. Yes, I had thoughts like this (that she would be defaulted), but he just gave me a warning."
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