The prefectural government of Kyoto has said it will confer a special honor reserved for athletes on tennis player Miyu Kato in recognition of her winning the mixed doubles at the French Open.

The win by the 28-year-old native of Sakyo Ward, Kyoto city, marks the second straight victory by a Japanese player in the same category at one of the world's four most prominent tennis tournaments.

Miyu Kato.

Kato and her partner had earlier been defaulted during their women's doubles third-round match after a ball she hit cross-court struck a ball girl and was deemed to be dangerous. However, a chorus of support for the Japanese player grew internationally, with many people saying the default was too severe a punishment for what was an accident.

Kato "secured the hard-fought win after overcoming the unfortunate accident," Kyoto Gov. Takatoshi Nishiwaki said. "While the opponents (who appealed for Kato and her partner to be defaulted) have been a target of much bashing, she had warm words for them too. She really deserves praise."

The Kyoto Shimbun

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