Ground staff clear and dry the outside courts after rain delayed play during a second round singles match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

The Latest: Rain, dust cause delays on outside courts

January 22, 2020 - 9:51 pm

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The Latest on the Australian Open (all times local):

1:45 p.m.

Rain and an overnight dust storm from the northwest of Melbourne is playing havoc with the Australian Open schedule.

First heavy morning showers delayed play on all outside courts. That combined with an earlier dust storm left a layer of red on some outside courts, making them unplayable in the morning.

Melbourne Park staff used high-pressure hoses to clean court surfaces before light rain showers began falling in the early afternoon, forcing officials to close the roofs at the three main arenas. The rain became heavier later, and suspended play in the only two matches that had started on outside courts.

In the first completed match at Rod Laver Arena, two-time Grand Slam singles champion Garbine Muguruza beat Ajla Tomljanovic 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

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12:50 p.m.

Sixth-seeded Belinda Bencic and Donna Vekic have advanced to the third round at Melbourne Park. Bencic beat 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko 7-5, 7-5 while the 19th-seeded Vekic defeated Alize Cornet 6-4, 6-2.

Heavy morning rain showers delayed play on the outside courts from at least 90 minutes to up to three hours. Play began on schedule as well on the other two venues with retractable roofs — Rod Laver Arena and Margaret Court Arena.

Top-seeded Rafael Nadal was scheduled to play the second night match at Rod Laver Arena against Federico Delbonis. Local hope Nick Kyrgios was also set to play a night match at Melbourne Arena against French veteran Gilles Simon.

The rain stopped late morning and the weather is mostly cloudy with gusting winds.

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11:20 a.m.

Morning rain has delayed the start of play on outside courts at the Australian Open by one hour.

The sun was shining and the rain had cleared at Melbourne Park when play started on the three covered arenas but the outside courts were still wet from from earlier heavy showers.

Two-time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza opened play at Rod Laver Arena when she took on Ajla Tomljanovic. Top-seeded Rafael Nadal was scheduled to play the final match on the same court against Federico Delbonis.

The forecast was for clear but windy conditions for the remainder of the day.

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