Nicolas Mahut is facing the prospect of a fine at Queen’s after an errant serve struck a ball girl in the face and left her in tears.
The Frenchman was battling Stan Wawrinka on Thursday when the nasty incident occurred, after Mahut hit a practice serve after losing a game.
Annoyed that he’d lost his serve, Mahut decided to practice what he should have done and hit another serve that no one was expecting.
The ball girl at the back of the court took her eyes off the players in order to receive some balls being transferred to her from another ball girl.
That resulted in Mahut’s serve hitting her in the side of the face.
After initially carrying on with her duties, the young girl burst into tears.
Wawrinka attempted to comfort her as she made her way off the court, and Mahut was issued with a code violation for unsportsmanlike conduct.
That decision sparked controversy, with fans and commentators fuming that Mahut had been punished for the accident.
BBC commentator and former British player John Lloyd said: “He didn’t mean it. It was a complete accident. A calm little word without the microphone would have been enough.”
“I don’t think you really don’t need to give a warning for that. You just have a little chat and say: be a bit careful. I hope he doesn’t get a fine.”
Nicolas Mahut just got a warning from the umpire for accidentally hitting a ball girl? What a joke!— Dave J Gandolfini (@djk29_) June 20, 2019
Terrible decision from the umpire! #QueensTennis
However the fact remains that Mahut hit out in frustration when he shouldn’t have.
The Frenchman went on to stun Wawrinka 3-6 7-5 7-6(2).
Tsitsipas works overtime
Top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas survived a day of shocks as he claimed two victories on Thursday to reach the quarter-finals.
First the Greek 20-year-old returned to court to complete his weather-delayed first-round clash with Britain's Kyle Edmund before scraping past Frenchman Jeremy Chardy.
Chardy served for the match in the second set but World No.6 Tsitsipas hung in to level before sealing a 4-7 7-6(0) 7-6(4) victory to prolong his debut appearance at the prestigious Wimbledon warm-up event.
"I didn't play very well but I found my returns when he was serving for the match at 5-4," Tsitsipas, being tipped as the most likely of the next generation to challenge at Wimbledon, told reporters. "I didn't play my best, but survived."
Defending champion Marin Cilic, seeded five, was earlier cut down to size by Argentine Diego Schwartzman in the second round, the big-serving Croat slumping to a 6-4 6-4 defeat.
The result was all the more surprising as it was only the diminutive Schwartzman's third career victory on grass.
Second seed Kevin Anderson, runner-up at Wimbledon last year, went down 6-1 4-6 6-4 to Gilles Simon.