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Australian Open fans kicked out mid-match for start of COVID-19 lockdown

Fans at Novak Djokovic's match against Taylor Fritz booed when an announcement said they had to leave ahead of the start of a 5-day lockdown in Victoria state.
Credit: AP
Spectators are asked to leave Rod Laver Arena during the third round match between Serbia's Novak Djokovic and United States' Talyor Fritz at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Friday, Feb. 12, 2021.

MELBOURNE, VIC — Novak Djokovic's match against Taylor Fritz has resumed after being halted for nearly 10 minutes in the fourth set while Rod Laver Arena was cleared of spectators ahead of the start of a five-day COVID-19 lockdown in Victoria state.

Fans booed when they were told over the stadium loudspeakers to leave because they needed to be home by midnight.

The government allowed the Grand Slam tournament to continue but said no fans can attend the matches for at least the next five days.

Djokovic took the opening two sets of the third-round match against Fritz. But Djokovic slipped on the white “MELBOURNE” lettering at the back of the blue court early in the third set and hurt his mid-section.

Djokovic took a medical timeout, then was visited again by the trainer for more treatment later.

The 27th-seeded Fritz got back into the match but couldn’t pull off the upset as Djokovic eventually seemed to be feeling better and able to move and play more like himself.

The top-ranked Djokovic continued his bid for a ninth championship at Melbourne Park and 18th Grand Slam title overall by winning 7-6 (1), 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 6-2 at Rod Laver Arena, which was empty by the end.

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