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Defaulted in doubles, Japan's Miyu Kato wins mixed doubles title at French Open

Japan's Miyu Kato, right, and Germany's Tim Puetz celebrate winning the mixed doubles final match of the French Open tennis tournament against Canada's Bianca Andreescu and New Zealand's Michael Venus in two sets, 4-6, 6-4, 1-0 (10-6), at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, on June 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

PARIS (AP) -- Miyu Kato left behind the disappointment of her controversial disqualification in doubles by claiming the mixed doubles title at the French Open on Thursday.

    Playing with Tim Puetz of Germany, the pair defeated 2019 U.S. Open singles champion Bianca Andreescu of Canada and Michael Venus of New Zealand 4-6, 6-4, 10-6.

    Kato, a 28-year-old player from Japan, and her women's doubles partner were defaulted during their third-round match last week after Kato accidentally hit a ball girl in the neck after a point.

    Kato also forfeited all of her 21,500 euros (about $23,000) in prize money and rankings points from women's doubles but was allowed to keep participating in mixed doubles.

    "It has been really challenging for me for the past few days," Kato said. "I want to thank all the players, coaches, everyone for their heartfelt messages of support."

    Kato and Puetz played for the first time together at Roland Garros.

    "Miyu, it is unbelievable what has happened in the past 10 days," Puetz said. "I hope this helps you. I am very, very happy to win."

    The win marked the first mixed doubles title for both Puetz and Kato, who had not conceded a set before the final.

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