Instead, it hit the youngster on the back of the head. Kato, 28, immediately apologised to the girl who was crying and shaking.
Representation pic. Pic/iStock
Miyu Kato and Aldila Sutjiadi were disqualified from the French Open on Sunday after a ballgirl was accidentally hit by a harmless looking lob in an incident which also called into question the sportsmanship of their opponents.
The drama happened when the Japanese player and her Indonesian partner were leading 3-1 in the second set after opponents Marie Bouzkova and Sara Sorribes Tormo had claimed the opener.
Standing at the net, Kato gently backhanded a ball in the direction of the ballgirl standing at the opposite end of Court 14 in an apparent effort to help the flow of the match. Instead, it hit the youngster on the back of the head. Kato, 28, immediately apologised to the girl who was crying and shaking.
At first Kato received just a warning, but the supervisor was then called to the court and the pair, seeded 16, were disqualified from the third-round match after Bouzkova and Sorribes Tormo protested to the umpire.
Other key results
>> Karen Khachanov bt Lorenzo Sonego 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (9/7), 6-1
>> Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova bt Elise Mertens 3-6, 7-6 (7/3), 6-3
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