Searing heat in Melbourne has forced the Australian Open to grind to a halt, with play on all outdoor courts suspended after players braved the elements early on day two.
Matches were stopped just before 2pm Tuesday as the mercury rose to 36C and the tournament’s extreme heat policy was activated.
Earlier, players had been granted one 10-minute break to take between sets before the temperature rose further.
“This means play continues until the end of an even number of games or the completion of a tie break,” an Australian Open statement said.
“No new matches will be called to court. Play on outdoor practice courts is also suspended.”
Fans cheered as the roof closed at John Cain Arena, where play between eighth-seeded American Taylor Fritz and Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili had been halted until the roof could be shut.
Australian Jordan Thompson was among players affected by the match suspensions, with his game against American JJ Wolf halted in the second set with Thompson up 3-1, after losing the first 3-6.
Queensland wildcard Kimberly Birrell pulled off a tremendous upset win before the delays over seeded Estonian Kaia Kanepi, with her 3-6, 7-6, 6-1 victory met with raucous cheers at Kia Arena.