Controversy hits French Open as ball girl cries after being hit by Miyu Kato, protest by Marie Bouzkova & Sara Sorribes Tormo leads to default

Controversy at French Open as ball girl cries after being hit
Controversy at French Open as ball girl cries after being hit

Marie Bouzkova and Sara Sorribes Tormo won their third-round doubles match at the 2023 French Open after their opponents were disqualified for accidentally hitting a ball girl.

Bouzkova and Sorribes Tormo were facing No. 16 seeds Miyu Kato and Aldila Sutjiadi in the third round of the women's doubles at Roland Garros on Sunday. The match was tight, with the Czech-Spanish pair taking the first set 7-6(1).

Kato and Sutjiadi recovered in the second set to take an early lead of 3-1. However, at the end of the fourth game of the second set, Kato accidentally hit a ball girl on the other side of the net while giving back the ball.

Seeing that the ball had hit the girl, the chair umpire initially gave the Japanese-Indonesian pair a warning. Kato on her part immediately rushed to check on the girl and apologized.

However, Bouzkova and Sorribes Tormo then approached the chair umpire in protest and pointed out that the ball girl was crying after being hit. They asked for the match to be awarded to them via default.

"This is default," the pair argued.

The umpire seemed unconvinced by the plea, saying that Kato didn't intend to hit the ball directly at the ball girl and that she was not injured.

"She didn't do it on purpose, she didn't get injured," the chair umpire replied.

The supervisor was then called to the court. After discussing the matter, the chair umpire decided to disqualify Kato and Sutjiadi and award Bouzkova and Sorribes Tormo the win.

French Open gets called out for lack of women's night session matches

Iga Swiatek at the 2023 French Open
Iga Swiatek at the 2023 French Open

Meanwhile, the organizers of the 2023 French Open have come under constant criticism for not scheduling women's matches in the night session. Tournament Director Amelie Mauresmo, a former Grand Slam champion, was particularly criticized for not allotting night session matches to women.

The French Open only started hosting night session matches in 2021, with hopes of promoting headline matches during the prime-time slot. However, many in the tennis world have noticed that most of the night session matches have been men's.

In 2022, only one women's match was played at night. This year so far, the number has remained the same. World No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka will face American Sloane Stephens in the fourth round in a night session match on Sunday, June 4.

Amelie Mauresmo recently talked about the difficulties in choosing the matches to be played in the prime-time slot.

“We are a unique example of only one match scheduled in the evening, it makes it quite difficult to know in advance. It's a tough one. There is no perfect solution here,” she said.

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Edited by Shyam Kamal
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