Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Worker tests positive; Melbourne matches postponed

   COVID-19 continues to play havoc with Australian Open tuneup tournaments.
   First, 72 players were confined to their Melbourne hotel rooms for 14 days after passengers on their flights tested positive for COVID.
   Today, all matches in the ATP Cup, two ATP 250 tournaments and three WTA 500 tournaments were postponed until Thursday PST after a worker at the Grand Hyatt, where many players are staying, tested positive.
   "Authorities have advised that everyone who stayed at the Grand Hyatt between 16-29 January will need to be tested and isolate until they receive a negative test result," according to a statement by Tennis Australia.
   Meanwhile, Sloane Stephens' struggles continued early today. Leylah Fernandez, an 18-year-old Canadian left-hander, improved to 3-0 against the 27-year-old Fresno, Calif., product with a 6-3, 6-1 victory early today in the first round of the Grampians Trophy in Melbourne. 
   Stephens, the 2017 U.S. Open champion and 2018 French Open runner-up, has plunged from a career-high No. 3 in 2018 to No. 40.
   Also early today, 33-year-old wild cards Robin Haase of the Netherlands and Sam Querrey, who's originally from San Francisco, defeated 19-year-old Australian alternates Tristan Schoolkate and Dane Sweeny 6-4, 2-1, retired in the opening round of the Great Ocean Road Open in Melbourne.
   Querrey received a suspended fine of $20,000 for violating the COVID protocol at the St. Petersburg Open last October.
   The Australian Open, the year's first Grand Slam tournament, is scheduled for Sunday through Feb. 21 in Melbourne. The men's and women's singles draws are set for tonight at 11.
   ATP Challenger Tour — Treat Huey, a Washington, D.C., native who plays for the Philippines, and Sem Verbeek (University of the Pacific, 2013-16) of the Netherlands beat Joao Domingues and Joao Sousa of Portugal 6-3, 7-6 (8) in the first round of the €44,820 ($53,820) MTA Open in Antalya, Turkey.

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