French Open player wins after thrown racket lands in stands

PARIS (AP) — A French Open player was allowed to continue her match — and ended up winning it — after she threw her racquet and it bounced into the stands, the latest in a series of episodes involving professional tennis players taking their anger out on their equipment.

Irina-Camelia Begu, a 31-year-old Romanian seeded 63rd, had just lost the first point of a match as she led 2-0 in the third set at Court 13 against 30th seed Ekaterina Alexandrova in the second round at Roland Garros.

Begu walked to the sideline and threw her racquet, which left the red clay and flew just behind chair umpire Anis Ressaissi’s seat, landing among the spectators seated at the edge of the pitch. There were gasps from fans and a child could be heard crying.

The game was delayed for five minutes while Ressaissi called a supervisor, who came onto the pitch and spoke to the official, then to the people in the crowd, then to the two players.

Begu was cautioned for unsportsmanlike conduct but cleared to continue playing.

She earned the first point after the break in action and ended up winning six of the last eight of the game for a 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-4 comeback victory to reach the third round at Roland- Garros. for the first time since 2019.

“It’s an embarrassing moment for me, so I don’t want to talk too much about it. I just want to apologize,” Begu said in his post-match press conference. didn’t do something like that, and I feel really bad and sorry. So I’m just going to say again: Sorry for the incident and, yes, it was just an embarrassing moment for me.

When asked if she thought she would be defaulted – in other words, prevented from continuing to play and forced to forfeit the match – Begu replied: “You hit the clay with the racquet, but you never expect her to fly that much. It was, as I said, an embarrassing moment for me, and I just want to end it and not talk about it.

When a reporter then wanted to know what the chair umpire or supervisor had told him, Begu said, “Again, can we move on?

Because I’m going to answer the same thing: I just say, “I’m sorry,” and that’s it. »

A spokeswoman for the French Tennis Federation said organizers had no immediate comment, but tournament referee Remy Azemar was to answer for what happened.

In the first round of French Open, seventh seed Andrey Rublev reacted to losing the first set of an eventual win by using his racquet to hit a ball that ricocheted off the base of the grandstand. chair umpire. The ball flew past one of the groomers on the pitch, smoothing the clay between sets.

Earlier this season, Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Alexander Zverev was placed on a year’s probation by the men’s ATP Tour for repeatedly hitting the chair umpire position violently with his racquet. after a doubles loss at the Mexican Open in February. He was also fined $40,000 and lost over $30,000 in prize money, as well as all of the ranking points he earned from that tournament.

At the 2020 US Open, No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic was mishandled when he inadvertently hit a linesman in the throat with a tennis ball after losing a match in his fourth-round match.

As he headed to the sideline for a change, trailing Pablo Carreño Busta 6-5 in the first set, Djokovic hit a through ball behind him. The ball flew straight at the linesman, who dropped to her knees deep in the court and hit her neck.

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