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Play suspended as rain hits Australian Open

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Melbourne (AFP)

Play was suspended just hours after the start of the Australian Open on Monday as heavy rain fell on Melbourne Park, causing further disruption after a build-up hit by smoke from bushfires.

Umbrellas went up and fans were sent scurrying for cover as the heavens opened at about 3:00 pm (0400 GMT), making play impossible on most of the courts.

World number three Roger Federer's match against Steve Johnson was briefly interrupted while officials closed the roof on Rod Laver Arena, and Petra Kvitova's match with Katerina Siniakova was also continuing under the roof at Margaret Court Arena.

Smog from Australia's raging bushfires delayed qualifying last week and left several players with coughs and breathing problems, but air quality has improved in recent days.

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