Two players pull out from Australian Open qualifying event
February 26, 2021

Two players pull out from Australian Open qualifying event, after testing COVID positive

SYDNEY (AUSTRALIA) – Francisco Cerundolo of Argentina and American Denis Kudla have been withdrawn from the Australian Open qualifying event in Doha after diagnosed with COVID-19, organisers Tennis Australia said on Tuesday.

The men’s qualifying tournament for the year’s first Grand Slam is being hosted by Qatar from January 10-13, while the female players are competing in Dubai.

Players are expected to start arriving in Melbourne this week for the Australian Open. Victoria’s government has said it was enforcing the strongest protocols seen at any tennis tournament for the February 8-21 event.

Tennis Australia said in a statement, “Two players have returned a positive COVID-19 test at Australian Open men’s qualifying in Doha, Qatar. Both players have been transferred to a quarantine hotel.”

“Local health authorities, the tournament physician and medical team are monitoring each individual. Contact tracing is currently underway to notify close contacts.”

Morocco’s Elliot Benchetrit, who lost 6-4 6-3 to fourth seed Kudla, said in a video posted on Instagram that match officials got news of the positive test when the American was leading 5-3 in the second set.

However, they did not interrupt the match to intimate Kudla of the positive test and the American broke serve to seal the win.

“The rule was to finish the game in progress before the match was stopped and it was during the last game of the match so he was declared the winner …” Benchetrit told the Tennis Majors website by telephone.

Australian wildcard Dane Sweeny got a walkover into the third and final round of qualifying because of Kudla’s withdrawal.

Also advancing on account of a walkover was Mario Vilella Martinez of Spain after Cerundolo beat Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-2 6-4 before being withdrawn.

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