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Sports Australian Open qualifying begins despite poor air quality

11:40  14 january  2020
11:40  14 january  2020 Source:   msn.com

Smoke haze again forces delay in Australian Open qualifying

  Smoke haze again forces delay in Australian Open qualifying MELBOURNE, Australia — Australian Open officials delayed the start of play by two hours on the second day of qualifying until smoke from regional wild fires cleared later Wednesday. Smoke and hazy conditions at Melbourne Park on Tuesday affected the opening day's play with organizers criticized for allowing qualifying matches to proceed. A number of players complained, including Australian Bernard Tomic, who sought medical treatment during his first-round loss when he struggled to breathe. Slovenia's Dalila Jakupovic feared she would pass out before retiring from her match when she collapsed to her knees with a coughing spell.

Smoke haze and poor air quality caused by wildfires temporarily suspended practice sessions for the Australian Open at Melbourne Park on Tuesday, but qualifying began later in the morning. Tennis Australia said onsite conditions were improving and were being constantly monitored.

Australian Open practice was temporarily suspended on Tuesday and qualifying delayed by an hour because of poor air quality in Melbourne caused by Qualifying was scheduled to begin at 11am local time (00:00 GMT) with British players Liam Broady, Naiktha Bains, Harriet Dart, Jay Clarke and

  Australian Open qualifying begins despite poor air quality © Provided by The Canadian Press

MELBOURNE, Australia — Smoke haze and poor air quality caused by wildfires temporarily suspended practice sessions for the Australian Open at Melbourne Park on Tuesday, but qualifying began later in the morning in “very poor” conditions and amid complaints by at least one player who was forced to forfeit her match.

At the Kooyong Classic exhibition in Melbourne, former No. 1-ranked Maria Sharapova struggled in the heat and smoke and her match against Laura Siegemund was called off late in the second set. Siegemund won the first set in a tiebreaker but players and officials decided to stop play at 5-5 in the second.

A Canadian tennis player called Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer 'a little bit selfish' for not speaking out about the poor air quality at the Australian Open

  A Canadian tennis player called Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer 'a little bit selfish' for not speaking out about the poor air quality at the Australian Open "They're near the end and all they're thinking about is their legacy," Brayden Schnur said of Nadal and Federer. A number of players have suffered problems during qualifying matches at The Open as a direct result of the air quality in Melbourne, which is a result of the ongoing bushfires surrounding the city.

Australia 's devastating bushfire season is far from over despite cooler weather this week, Victorian state officials warned on Tuesday as The poor air quality temporarily suspended practice sessions for the Australian Open at Melbourne Park on Tuesday, but qualifying began later in the morning.

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia 's devastating bushfire season is far from over despite cooler weather this week, Victorian state officials warned on Tuesday as Melbourne was blanketed by hazardous smoke. Australian Open qualifying begins despite poor air quality . Associated Press.

"Both players are feeling the smoke so we are going to stop the match at this point," the umpire said.

At Melbourne Park, Slovenian Dalila Jakupovic was leading her first-round Australian Open qualifying match against Switzerland's Stefanie Voegele when she dropped to her knees with a coughing spell. Ranked 180th, Jakupovic was a set up and one point away from a tiebreaker in the second set when she experienced breathing difficulties and retired from the match.

“I was really scared that I would collapse," Jakupovic told Australian Associated Press. "I don't have asthma and never had breathing problems. I actually like heat. The physio came again and I thought it would be better. But the points were a bit longer and I just couldn't breathe anymore and I just fell on the floor."

Bad air doesn't stop qualifying for Australian Open

  Bad air doesn't stop qualifying for Australian Open The air was considered hazardous for outdoor workers, and described as among the worst in the world. For professional tennis players, though, it was deemed to be OK for business. A thick haze enveloped Melbourne as smoke from devastating wildfires drifted over Australia’s southeast. Fine particles in the air early Tuesday hit the worst of six levels on a scale from good to hazardous, before dropping into the second-worst category, “very poor.” While public health warnings were regularly being broadcast, some players preparing for the Australian Open were outdoors trying to qualify for the first Grand Slam event of the decade.

Air quality likely to be an ongoing issue at the Australian Open with no end to the fires in sight. Maria Sharapova and Germany's Laura Siegmund also abandoned their match in the second set at the nearby exhibition tournament in Kooyong due to conditions. Tennis Australia insisted that its on-site experts

Australian Open tennis organisers have been forced to suspend practice and postpone the start of The new start time on the opening day of qualifying for next week's grand slam event was moved to 11am, after practice was temporarily halted on Tuesday morning due to the poor air quality .

Jakupovic said it was "not fair" that officials asked players to take the court in those conditions.

“It's not healthy for us. I was surprised, I thought we would not be playing today but we don't have much choice."

Former Wimbledon semifinalist Eugenie Bouchard needed some medical assistance during her first qualifying match before beating You Xiaodi 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-1.

Organizers said further decisions on match scheduling would be made using onsite data and in close consultation with its medical team, the Bureau of Meteorology, and scientists from the Environmental Protection Agency in Victoria state.

Melbourne started the day with hazardous air pollution as smoke from wildfires in Victoria's east and in southern New South Wales state drifted through.

The central business district, close to where Melbourne Park is located, recorded overnight hazardous levels of fine particles in the air and the EPA categorized the air quality as “very poor."

Firefighters in the region spent the night being called out to fire alarms triggered by the smoke haze.

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More AP Tennis: https://www.apnews.com/apf-Tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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The Associated Press

Djokovic: wildfires could cause problems for Australian Open .
BRISBANE, Australia — Novak Djokovic has voiced concerns about the impact of the devastating wildfires in Australia on tennis’ season-opening major, saying organizers may have to consider delaying the tournament if conditions around Melbourne deteriorate. Djokovic has won a record seven Australian Open men’s championships at Melbourne Park among his 16 Grand Slam singles titles and will be among the favourites again when the tournament is scheduled to start on Monday, Jan. 20.

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