AUSTRALIAN OPEN hopeful Denis Kudla was disqualified after testing positive for coronavirus during a match he won.
The American, 28, was playing Moroccan Elliot Benchetrit at the Grand Slam's qualifying event in Doha on Monday.
Leading 6-4 5-3 and only a game away from victory, Kudla was informed his test result had come back showing he had Covid-19.
That meant Kudla would be axed from the qualifiers and forced to self-isolate at the hotel.
However, Benchetrit explained that the match could not be terminated mid-game and the ninth game of the second set needed to be finished.
Unfortunately for the Moroccan, Kudla won that game to seal a 6-4 6-3 victory and knock his opponent out – before duly being booted himself.
Incredibly, had Benchetrit won that game to make it 5-4, the match would have ended there with the 22-year-old handed the win to go through and Kudla disqualified.
It also meant Australian teenager Dane Sweeny, who was due to play world No114 Kudla next, was given a walkover to the final round of qualifying.
Speaking on Instagram, Benchetrit said: "At 5-3, they got the result.
"So to sum up: if I’d won that game at 5-3 to make it 5-4, I’d have qualified for the second round."
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Thankfully for him, he was not forced into quarantine as well and updated his story from an aeroplane on Tuesday saying he had safely arrived in Nice.
Argentine Francisco Cerundolo is also in isolation after receiving his bad news BEFORE taking to the court with Spain’s Mario Vilella Martinez.
Tennis Australia confirmed the two cases in a statement which read: "Two players have returned a positive Covid-19 test at Australian Open men’s qualifying in Doha, Qatar.
"Both players have been withdrawn from the tournament and transferred to a quarantine hotel.
"Local health authorities, the tournament physician and medical team are monitoring each individual. Contact tracing is currently underway to notify close contacts."
But Benchetrit shockingly revealed players are allowed to play before their test results – some of which are delayed – come back to confirm they are negative.
The world No221 told the Tennis Majors website: "The concept of a test is to have the information up front, to not put the linespeople, the opponent or, quite simply, everyone the person might meet before or after their match, in danger.
"There also are lucky losers who are waiting for a forfeit to be able to play, who travelled there for nothing.
"The draw is compromised – there will be a player in the third round of qualifications having played just one match. That’s also the problem."
The Australian Open in Melbourne was pushed back three weeks with the main draws starting on February 8.
Tennis players making their way to the country must quarantine for two weeks.
They are allowed to leave their hotel rooms for a maximum of five hours per day, two of which can be spent training on the court with a designated hitting partner.
British duo Andy Murray and Dan Evans have paired up but compatriot Kyle Edmund has withdrawn from the event due to an ongoing knee injury.
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