Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Australian Open mask plan canceled

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The ATP Cup lost some star power last night with Serbia knocked out by Germany advancing to stage a semi-final clash with Russia, while Italy and Spain clash also for a place in the final.

The biggest ATP Cup clash of the day on Saturday will be Alexander Zverev v Daniil Medvedev which is the second game at Rod Laver Arena after the Jan-Lennard Struff semi-final against Andrey Rublev at 10am AEDT.

Fabio Fognini faces Pablo Carreno Busta in the last four games between Spain and Italy at John Cain Arena.

Spain have given no indication that Rafael Nadal will overcome a back injury and play – just two days before the start of the Australian Open.

“He is working very hard to get his best feelings back,” said Spain captain Pepe Vendrell.

“Obviously he hasn’t been able to play any games during the week. It’s a situation we have to look at. But day by day he’s improving.”

Vendrell was asked if the world No.2 has a better chance of playing on Saturday than he was on Friday, as he was absent in Spain’s 2-1 loss to Greece.

“We don’t know. We’re going to talk tonight. He trained and his feelings were better,” he said. “We think as a team. We [will] try to choose the best option for the team. “

Officials face the very real prospect of the remaining star players stepping down to rest before the first round of the Grand Slam on Monday.

However, tournament director Craig Tiley has assured contestants that they won’t fall victim to their tournament-leading success and won’t have to back down early if they play on Sunday.

“ATP Cup is sure to end [by Sunday], we start 10am tomorrow and then 10am again on Sunday to get it done [by Sunday afternoon],” he said.

“The two women’s events will take place on Sunday. Then we’ll try to protect these players on Sunday by not giving them an early start on Monday.

Elsewhere, world No.23 Anett Kontaveit of Estonia will face former Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka in the Grampians Trophy quarter-finals at 11am AEDT in the opener at Margaret Court Arena.

Naomi Osaka faces Elise Mertens in the semi-finals of the Gippsland Trophy in the other match that is sure to generate interest.

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