Sport

Tennis player Dalila Jakupovic forced from court due to coughing fit caused by Melbourne smoke

Tennis player Dalila Jakupovic forced from court due to coughing fit caused by Melbourne smoke

Former world number one Maria Sharapova has been forced off the court while a Slovenian player collapsed due to the hazardous air quality in Melbourne.

Dalila Jakupovic was leading her round one Open qualifying match against Switzerland’s Stefanie Voegele when she collapsed to her knees with a coughing fit.

Ranked world No.180, Jakupovic was a set up and one point away from a tiebreak in the second set when she suffered the breathing difficulties and subsequently withdrew from the match.

The match umpire was seen rushing to Jakupovic’s aid before medical officials could arrive.

Former Wimbeldon finalist Eugenie Bouchard also survived a gruelling battle in Melbourne’s smoke to scrape through the first round of Australian Open qualifying.

The Canadian, who has been ranked as high as fifth in the world, called multiple medical timeouts in her 4-6 7-6 6-1 victory of China’s Xiaodi You at Melbourne Park on Tuesday.

Bouchard received medical attention for about 10 minutes after winning the second-set tie-break. You, who also needed assistance from the trainer, regularly served under-arm during the third set as she struggled in the oppressive conditions.

The umpire in Sharapova’s clash with German Laura Siegemund at the Kooyong Classic determined the conditions were too dangerous to continue.

World No.72 Siegemund had won the first set 7-6 (7-4) as Sharapova struggled in the heat and smoke in Melbourne.

Players and officials decided to stop play at 5-5 in the second set.

“Both players are feeling the smoke so we are going to stop the match at this point,” the umpire announced.