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WTA Auckland Classic washed out again in roofless stadium

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Rain continues to fall on the semi-finals day of the WTA Auckland Classic, on January 5, 2018 © AFP / MICHAEL BRADLEY

AUCKLAND, New Zealand, Jan 5Rain has washed out play for a second day at the WTA Auckland Classic, forcing the tournament into an extra day and highlighting the lack of a roof to combat foul weather.

The quarter and semi-finals will now be played on Saturday, when the rain is expected to clear, with the final moved back to Sunday.

The Auckland Classic is a popular warm-up tournament ahead of the Australian Open and drawcards this year include Caroline Wozniacki, Julia Goerges, Barbora Strycova and Agnieszka Radwanska who are all through to the final eight.

The men’s tournament which follows includes Jack Sock, Juan Martin del Potro, Sam Querrey and Roberto Bautista Agut.

But the tournament can be held hostage by the weather, as has happened this year, with no roofed court to accommodate play.

Last year, Serena Williams said she “abhorred” the conditions when bundled out in the second round on a particularly windy day and wanted to “get to somewhere better, some warm weather”.

Tournament director Karl Budge is opposed to moving the tournaments indoors and confirmed to reporters planning was under way to build a roofed stadium.

“We’d love to have a roof, but in the meantime we’ve got to wait to see if we can make that a reality,” Budge said.

“We’re 100 per cent committed to that project and as soon as these tournaments are over, we’ll pick up that project again and try to make it a reality. But days like today strengthen the argument when we have those conversations.”

Second-seed Goerges will play Polona Hercog and third-seed Barbara Strycova will take on Su-Wei Hsieh in the first two quarter-finals at 10:00 am on Saturday (2100 GMT Friday).

Those matches will be followed by top-seed Wozniacki playing Sofia Kenin while fourth-seed Radwanska faces Sachia Vickery.

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