Roberto Bautista Agut lucky to avoid forfeiting match after hitting ballboy

ATP Masters Series: Monte Carlo Rolex Masters - Day Five

Tennis star Roberto Bautista Agut came within a whisker of being thrown out of the Monte Carlo Masters after hitting a ball into the side of the head of a ballboy on Thursday.

The world number 16 had just gone a double break down in the second set of his last 16 match against Belgian David Goffin when he hit a ball into the clay, striking a ballboy as he scampered across court - scroll further down the page to see how it happened.

Rules state a player must be in control of his actions on court or face disqualification for unsportsmanlike behaviour, but the Spaniard escaped with a warning.

Precedents suggest Bautista Agut had a lucky let off.

Tim Henman was famously disqualified from the doubles at Wimbledon in 1995 after striking a ball into the head of a ball girl as she stood just a foot away.

The same fate befell rising star Denis Shapalov last year after the Canadian aimlessly launched a ball towards the crowd, hitting the chair umpire in the eye, during a Davis Cup first round rubber against Kyle Edmund.

On this occasion, the lack of force behind Bautista Agut’s errant swing appears to have saved the Spaniard, with the umpire allowing play to continue.

Admittedly, the replay is in slow motion but there does appear to be a slightly longer delay between the impact and Agut's apology than you might have expected.

Goffin queried the official's decision before Bautista Agut, seemingly inspired by the let off, proceeded to save two match points to rally from 5-1 to 5-5.

The Belgian held his nerve, though, to see out the match 7-5 and set up a quarter-final with fourth seed Grigor Dimitrov.


You can just imagine how upset Goffin would have been had he not come through that match with a win - and he would probably have a point too.

Ten-time winner and defending champion Rafael Nadal also came through to face an intriguing match up with Novak Djokovic’s conqueror, Dominic Thiem.

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