Australian Open qualifying delayed by air quality

Melbourne

Australian Open practice was temporarily suspended on Tuesday and qualifying delayed by an hour because of poor air quality in Melbourne caused by ongoing bushfires.

Organisers said the conditions were expected to improve and would be “monitored constantly”.

An estimated 10 million hectares (100,000 sq km) of land has burned since 1 July amid record-breaking temperatures and months of drought.

At least 28 people have died.

Qualifying was scheduled to begin at 11am local time (00:00 GMT) with British players Liam Broady, Naiktha Bains, Harriet Dart, Jay Clarke and Samantha Murray scheduled on court.

However, in the hour before the scheduled start time the air quality around Melbourne Park was registering at 229 on the Air Quality Index,