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Tennis fans will be allowed back into Melbourne Park for the remainder of the Australian Open after the Victorian government announced the state’s lockdown will be lifted by Thursday

Tennis fans will be allowed back into Melbourne Park for the remainder of the Australian Open after the Victorian government announced the states lockdown will be lifted by Thursday.
With the five-day snap restrictions to end at midnight on Wednesday, crowds will be back in the stands for the mens and womens singles semi-finals, starting on Thursday, and the finals over the weekend.
But the exact number allowed back on site is unclear and may be further reduced from the pre-lockdown guidelines, when 30,000 were allowed per day around 50% of the usual attendance figure.
They were already reduced but may have to be reduced further, Victorian premier Dan Andrews said on Wednesday morning. That matter will be resolved in the next few hours.
Several players indicated their delight at being able to play in front of crowds before the short, sharp lockdown was implemented last week in response to the detection of the highly contagious UK variant in Victoria.
Naomi Osaka, the 2019 Open champion, said on Tuesday she would welcome crowds back after the five-day absence. The Japanese is scheduled to play Serena Williams in one of three semi-finals slated for Thursday.
Karolína Muchová, who stunned Ash Barty in an empty Rod Laver Arena on Wednesday, will play American Jennifer Brady in the other womens match.
In the mens draw, world No 1 Novak Djokovic meets the Russian qualifier, Aslan Karatsev, with the second mens semi to be played on Friday.