Miyu Kato received a warm reception from the crowd at the 2023 French Open after her mixed doubles quarterfinal victory on Monday, June 6. This came a day after she was disqualified from women's doubles for striking a ball that unintentionally hit a ball girl.
Miyu Kato and his mixed doubles partner Tim Putz won their quarterfinal mixed doubles match. The Japanese-German pair defeated reigning Australian Open mixed doubles champions Luisa Stefani and Rafael Matos of Brazil, 7-6 (5), 6-2.
Kato was allowed to play this match after getting disqualified from her third-round women's doubles match with partner Aldila Sutjiadi at the 2023 French Open. They were up against Marie Bouzkova and Sara Sorribes Tormo when Kato unintentionally struck a ball girl with a ball in the second set.
Kato was initially given a warning. However, the chair umpire and supervisor later decided that the action warranted a disqualification as the ball girl was weeping. This gave Bouzkova and Sorribes Tormo a default win.
The 28-year-old was crying after the match and there were doubts about whether she will participate in her mixed doubles match on Monday. However, she played the match and won. The crowd on the court stood up and applauded Kato after she served to win the match.
Kato was touched by the warm gesture and seen in tears while thanking the crowd. She and Putz will next face either Aldila Sutjiadi, Kato's women's partner, and Matwe Middlekoop or Hao-Ching Chan and Fabrice Martin in the semifinal.
Miyu Kato apologizes for the French Open default controversy
After hitting the ball girl during her women's doubles match, Miyu Kato immediately went to console the crying ball girl and apologized. However, her action led to disqualification. This meant that Kato and Sutjiadi would lose their prize money and points gained at the French Open.
The Japanese player then took to Twitter to issue an apology to her partner and fans for the mishap. Kato wrote that while her action was completely unintentional, it would lead to a forfeiture of her points and prize money. Kato also thanked her supporters for their continued backing.
"I would like to sincerely apologize to the Ball Girl, my partner Aldila & Team, & my supporters because of today's unfortunate mishap. It was completely unintentional. As a result, I am penalized by RG by forfeiting my prize money & points. I appreciate all your continued support!" she tweeted.
Kato received support from many tennis players and fans, who found the action to be unjust, with many even calling for a rule change.