During the opening round of Australian Open qualifying in Doha on Monday, Elliot Benchetrit fell, 6-4, 6-3, to Denis Kudla, but would have reached the next round if he had won just one more game.
At 5-3 in the second set, the players learned that Kudla had tested positive for coronavirus, disqualifying him for the rest of the tournament. But because they were allowed to complete the game in progress before Kudla was withdrawn, he won the set and the match.
"So if I’d won that game at 5-3 to make it 5-4, I would have qualified for the second round," Benchetrit said on social media.
This is weird— Bastien Fachan (@BastienFachan) January 11, 2021
Elliot Benchetrit, who lost to Denis Kudla 6-4 6-3 in the AO qualifying R1, says that news that Kudla tested positive to COVID broke out at 5-3 in the second set...
...and Benchetrit was told later that if he had won the game for 5-4, he would have been through? pic.twitter.com/Dw4vRlPdTt
Players in Australian Open qualifying were tested upon arrival in Doha, followed by more testing every few days. It appears to be one of these subsequent tests in which Kudla came back positive. He is required to stay in isolation for a week.
Even worse for the No. 221-ranked Benchetrit, he had yet to be notified whether he would also have the "double blow" of having to go into quarantine himself.
"And on top of that, I would have to stay a week in the room," he said.
Australian Dane Sweeny, a qualifying wild card ranked No. 794, was Kudla's next opponent and is now through to the final round of qualifying.
Originally from France, 22-year-old Benchetrit now competes for Morocco.