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Melbourne’s Tennis On Hold • Alcaraz Tops Goffin

Seventeen-year-old Carlos Alcaraz upset top-seeded David Goffin of Belgium during their second round match of the Great Ocean Road Open – ATP 250 tennis tournament at Melbourne Park in Melbourne. EPA-EFE/DAVE HUNT

By Ricky Dimon

Tennis paused in Melbourne on Thursday after an Australian Open hotel worker tested positive for Coronavirus.

A security guard at the Grand Hyatt, where more than 500 Australian Open personnel are staying, tested positive for Covid-19 on Wednesday.

Countless players participating across the six ATP and WTA events must return negative tests before competition can resume. Testing will happen on Thursday as all play is postponed.

One of Wednesday’s highlights came at the Great Ocean Road.

The No. 1 seed crashed on Wednesday night when David Goffin fell to 17-year-old Carlos Alcaraz 6-3, 6-4 in just 59 minutes.

Alcaraz, a Spaniard who is already up to No. 146 in the world–and climbing–as a teenager, successfully qualified for the Australian Open last month. Barring any Covid-19 complications with the tournament, he will make his Grand Slam debut on either Monday or Tuesday.

Andrey Rublev helped lead Russia to the ATP Cup semifinals. EPA-EFE/ANDY RAIN

ATP Cup Update

Russia and Italy are the first two countries to secure spots in the 2021 ATP Cup semifinals, as they picked up respective second round-robin wins on Wednesday. After Italy improved to 2-0 by beating France, the Russians routed Japan in two straight-set singles matches to do the same.

With top-10 players Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev anchoring their lineup, Russia is looking formidable. They are a combined 4-0 in singles and have not dropped a single set in two ties. Rublev opened on Wednesday with a 6-1, 6-3 defeat of Yoshihito Nishioka before Medvedev took care of Kei Nishikori 6-2, 6-4 to wrap up the Group D win.

“(I am) really happy for the team,” the reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion assured. “(Reaching the) semifinals is a big step…. (I am) really happy that we made it in both singles—straight sets…really happy for the team and hopefully we can go further than that.”

In Group C, the Italians trounced France with singles victories by Fabio Fognini (d. Benoit Paire) and Matteo Berrettini (d. Gael Monfils). An in-form Berrettini previously upset Austria’s Dominic Thiem on Tuesday.

Italy likely awaits Spain in the semis, while Russia could go up against defending champion Serbia.

Ricky contributes to10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.