Monday, 20 January, 2020


Australian Open qualifying begins despite poor air quality

Smoke plays havoc with Australian Open qualifying Tennis: Australian Open qualifying begins despite poor air quality
Noah Ferguson | 14 January, 2020, 17:38

Germany's Alexander Zverev was due up first on the Melbourne practice courts, followed by Spanish world No. 1 Rafael Nadal.

"It's not healthy for us", she said.

The Solvenian 28-year-old was one set up and one point away from forcing a tiebreaker in the second set of her qualifier against Stefanie Voegele when she fell to her knees in a coughing fit while experiencing breathing difficulties. "I was really scared that I would collapse", she said at a presser afterward, adding she's never had breathing issues.

"The physio came again and I thought it would be better". "That's why I went onto the floor because I couldn't walk anymore".

Former world number Maria Sharapova also struggled in the heat and smoke, with her Kooyong Classic match called off late in the second set.

"Conditions onsite are improving and are being constantly monitored", the tournament said in a statement.

Taking on German Laura Siegemund in the Australian Open warm-up tournament, the players and officials made a decision to stop play at 5-5 in the second set. "I was surprised, I thought we would not be playing today but we don't have much choice".

Russian Sharapova's match with Germany's Laura Siegemund was called off with Siegemend leading 7-6, 5-5 after both players complained to the chair umpire.

Poor air quality following ongoing wildfires in the country has impacted a number of players and caused delays to the qualifying stages of the competition.

Play eventually got underway at 11 a.m. local time - an hour later than scheduled - after the city's air was the worst quality in the world overnight because of the bushfires.

Up-to-date information can be found on the EPA's AirWatch website, which gives overall air-quality ratings, as well as the current PM2.5 level, referring to the concentration of pollutants with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres (about three per cent of a human hair) in the air.

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