There were surreal scenes on day one of the French Open as a fan refused to be thrown out after disrupting Maria Sakkari's match against Clara Burel.
Sakkari was serving for the match at 6-2 5-3 up when the incident occurred, although there had been a lead-up to it with the fan causing the Greek player to have to stop before serving.
As repeated pleas from the umpire for the crowd to be quiet followed as the supporter left both players frustrated, Sakkari had to pull up and wait for silence again and again.
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To her credit, the fourth seed managed to compose herself after each time she had to stall and stop her service motion, and she proceeded to close out victory in impressive fashion to seal her progression through to the second round.
Security personnel attempted to remove the fan on several occasions, but he appeared to somehow resist and refuse to budge from his seat inside Court Philippe Chatrier.
Even after the match had finished, there were cheers and boos as security moved in once more and attempted to remove him from the stadium.
"That is not what you need when you are trying to serve out a match," noted Eurosport commentator Miles Maclagan as boos rang out around the arena.
"Another vacant seat..."
"Yeah, this is too much," agreed Chris Bradnam. "Has he been removed?"
"They are saying it is better to wait until the situation has been resolved. There are still people with that gentleman. I think he is just refusing to go. Sakkari just wants to get on with it."
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After the match, an impressed Mats Wilander told Eurosport: "[Sakkari] looked really good. I think it was an important match to get for her because Burel was keeping the ball in play and she was making Sakkari have to win the points and I think that’s good for your confidence.
"She’s had a great clay-court season, of course, but I think this was a huge match. Like she’s been saying in interviews, to play on Philippe Chatrier in the first round and to play against an opponent that has a good feel, this is a big confidence step for her.”
Tim Henman added: "[She is] one of [the favourites]. With her style of play and how aggressive she is from the back of the court, she plays with heavy spin… the ball’s really bouncing up… her physicality; she’s such a good mover, such a good athlete.
"She’s played well in this tournament before. I think it was a good match for her to come through today and she stamped her authority early to get on top and she’ll be very pleased.”
Watch Sakkari clinch victory in opening round at French Open
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