Australian Open: Hazardous air condition delays matches, restarts amid haze
WION Web Team Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Jan 14, 2020, 06.14 PM(IST)
Players Maria Sharapova of Russia (L) and Laura Siegemund of Germany (R) speak to a tournament official as their match is abandoned due to the smoke from Australia's bushfires, in Melbourne
A player collapsed in a coughing fit and retired from the Australian Open qualifying on Tuesday as organizers faced criticism over the matches going ahead despite Melbourne's air quality to "hazardous" levels due to the bushfires.
Slovenia's Dalila Jakupovic was leading against Swiss player Stefanie Vogele (6-4 5-6) at Melbourne Park Arena, Melbourne when she collapsed on her knees on the blue hardcourt. She was seen fighting for breath.
Authorities expect the smoke to stay until Wednesday when showers in the afternoon are forecast.
Novak Djokovic expressed concern earlier this month that bushfire smoke might cause health problems for players. Maria Sharapova and Laura Siegemund's matchup was abandoned due to smoke. Maria Sharapova called off the match as she was unable to bear the heat and the smoke.
Tournament organizers last week said that play will be confined to indoor stadiums if the air quality deteriorates.