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Venus Williams' Miami Open match interrupted by unlikely court invader that steals show


A cat stole the show by interrupting Venus Williams’ match against Diana Shnaider in the first round of the Miami Open. Williams, who received a wildcard into the main draw, ended up falling to a straight-sets defeat in spite of her best efforts.

The 43-year-old was appearing in the first round of the Miami Open for the 22nd time but saw her campaign cut short by Shnaider, who secured a routine victory in one hour and 19 minutes. Williams made her opponent work hard in spite of the result, displaying some vintage ball-striking and showing flashes of her quality.

During the second set, play was temporarily halted when a cat wandered onto the court just as Williams was preparing to serve. It sparked a collective gasp from the Miami crowd, with tennis legend Martina Navratilova among those clearly delighted by the feline invader’s appearance.

In her commentary role on the Tennis Channel, Navratilova said: “Oh look, there’s the cat! It was a cat. A cute cat, too, look at it. I have not seen that before. Such a big place for a cat to get lost, the parking lot is pretty wide. Catch that cat and give it a good home. It’s a cute cat.”

It did not mark the first time that a high-profile tennis event had been paused due to a cat on the court. Emma Raducanu was distracted by a rogue feline before her recent meeting with Ons Jabeur in Abu Dhabi, with the Brit pointing and laughing while at the net before the match.

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