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Up to 1,000 fans to be allowed in for Italian Open tennis

ROME (AP) — Up to 1,000 spectators will be allowed in to watch the semifinals and finals of the Italian Open tennis tournament, the government said Friday.

The tournament, which features nine-time champion Rafael Nadal and top-ranked Novak Djokovic, has so far been played without fans because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Starting with the semifinals and finals of the (Italian Open), up to 1,000 spectators can watch all sports competitions that are held outdoors and which scrupulously respect the rules in terms of social distancing, masks and reserved seating,” Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora said. “It’s a first, but significant, step toward the return of normalcy in sports.”

The semifinals and finals for both men and women are scheduled for Sunday and Monday.

The tournament was rescheduled from its usual slot in May because of the pandemic. Four Italian players have reached the third round for the first time since 1979.

The Italian soccer season also begins this weekend.

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More AP Tennis: https://apnews.com/apf-Tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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Andrew Dampf on Twitter: www.twitter.com/AndrewDampf

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