Australian Open matches suspended due to extreme heat at Melbourne Park

Australian Open fan cooling down Credit: Alamy
Australian Open fan cooling down Credit: Alamy

Play was suspended at the Australian Open on Tuesday afternoon because of extreme heat.

With the temperature into the mid-30s, the tournament’s heat stress scale, which also takes into account humidity and wind speed, hit five just after 2pm, meaning play was stopped on the outside courts.

Among those affected was British No 2 Dan Evans, who had just taken a two-sets-to-one lead over Argentina’s Facundo Bagnis in the first round.

“At 1:12pm the AO Heat Stress Scale reached 4 and the heat policy came into play,” the initial statement read. “This means singles players can take a 10-minute break – women between the second and third set and men between the third and fourth set – of their matches.

“Players have the option of staying on court or using showers or cooling rooms.”

It was late updated to: “The AO Heat Stress Scale has reached 5 and play will be suspended on the outside courts.

“This means play continues until the end of an even number of games or the completion of a tie break. No new matches will be called to court. Play on outdoor practice courts is also suspended.”

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Play continued under the roofs on the Rod Laver, Margaret Court and John Cain arenas.

The decision came just before the start of Andy Murray’s clash with Matteo Berrettini on Laver, enabling it to start indoors.

The other match that under the roof was Taylor Fritz’s clash against Nikoloz Basilashvili on Cain.

Tuesday was forecast to be the hottest day of the tournament, with the possibility of thunderstorms and cooler temperatures from Wednesday.

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Some of the matches that were completed early saw fifth Andrey Rublev defeat 2020 US Open champion Dominic Thiem 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 and Grigor Dimitrov secured a 7-6 (7-3), 7-5, 6-2 win over Aslan Karatsev.

In the women’s draw two-time Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza was beaten 6-3, 6-7 (1-7), 1-6 by Elise Mertens, fourth seed Caroline Garcia beat Katherine Sebov 6-3, 6-0 and her reward is a clash against 2021 US Open runner-up Leylah Fernandez, who claimed a 7-5, 6-2 win over Alize Cornet.

READ MORE: Ajla Tomljanovic laments ‘worst timing ever’ after Australian Open withdrawal; Paula Badosa also out

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