Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova’s match against Germany’s Laura Siegemund at the Kooyong Classic was forced to be suspended on Tuesday after she felt a “cough coming”.

The Russian former world number one was trailing 7-6 (7-4) 5-5 when the match was stopped and Sharapova said that the organisers made the right decision.

“We played over two hours and I actually started feeling a little bit of a cough coming up to the end of the second set,” Sharapova was quoted as saying by SBS.

“But I’ve been sick for a few weeks so I thought it was something to do with that. When I heard Laura speak to the umpire and said she was struggling with it as well I was like, ‘Okay, thankfully I’m not the only one’ and then the umpire came down and said let’s just play one more game,” she added.

Significantly, thick smoke also delayed the first day of qualifiers at the Australian Open in Melbourne earlier on Tuesday, with the toxic smog deemed too hazardous for athletes to play in.

While the qualifying matches got underway at 11 a.m. (local time), Tennis Australia added that conditions onsite were constantly monitored and that any further decisions would be made using onsite data in close consultation with medical specialists, the Bureau of Meteorology and scientists from the Environmental Protection Agency Victoria.