Kyle Edmund and Heather Watson progress as air quality diminishes in Australia

YORKSHIRE’S Kyle Edmund reached the quarter-finals of the ASB Classic in Auckland with a straight-sets victory over Andreas Seppi.

Kyle Edmund of Great Britain plays a backhand during his singles game against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina of Spain during day two of the 2020 Men's ASB Classic at ASB Tennis Centre. (Picture: Phil Walter/Getty Images)

Edmund is looking to put a disappointing 2019 season behind him and build on a super showing for Great Britain in the Davis Cup finals in November, and this represents a positive start.

The Beverley player recovered from a break down in the second set against his experienced Italian opponent to win 6-3 7-6 (4) and set up a last-eight meeting with John Isner.

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Heather Watson is into the quarter-finals at the Hobart International after defeating Fiona Ferro in straight sets.

The British No 2, who had to play two qualifying rounds at the event, won 7-6 (5) 6-3 in a match that was delayed due to darkness.

Play was suspended due with Watson leading a set and 3-2 on serve in the second. After the resumption, the 27-year-old from Guernsey broke her opponents serve in the eighth game of the second set before serving it out for the victory.

Watson edged a tight opening set in a tie-break after dropping her serve late in the set. She will face Belgium’s Elise Mertens in the last-eight.

Poor air quality continued to affect the Australian Open with qualifying delayed for the second day in a row.

Tournament organisers came in for heavy criticism after beginning matches only an hour later than scheduled on Tuesday and playing through the day despite conditions indicating a danger to health.

Several players complained of breathing issues, with Slovenia’s Dalila Jakupovic retiring during her first-round match after collapsing on court.

Melbourne again woke up to a smoky haze from the bush fires that have devastated parts of the country and continue to burn out of control.

This time organisers pushed back the start by three hours to 1pm when, although the air quality index continued to show conditions as “unhealthy”, the sky was noticeably clearer.

The main challenge for the players was stifling heat, although that was broken by a fierce thunderstorm that hit Melbourne Park late in the afternoon and sent players scurrying for the locker rooms.

The Australian Open has a scale for determining when play should be suspended because of heat but has not announced what parameters it is working to regarding air quality.