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Bee invasion delays Carlos Alcaraz’s victory over Alexander Zverev at Indian Wells quarterfinal match

Bee invasion delays Carlos Alcaraz's victory over Alexander Zverev at Indian Wells quarterfinal match

Play was delayed at Indian Wells due to an unlikely culprit: bees. (Photo by John Cordes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

A bee invasion forced the BNP Paribas Open to delay a quarterfinal match between Carlos Alcaraz and Alexander Zverev at Indian Wells on Thursday. Play was halted for over an hour before it resumed and Alcaraz defeated Zverev 6-3, 6-1.

No, we're not pollen your leg.

Alcaraz, the defending champion, was preparing to serve midway through the third game of the match when a large cloud of insects descended upon Stadium 1 to surround him.

Genuine confusion flashed across Alcaraz's face as he attempted to swat the bees away with his racket. Zverev, meanwhile, barely moved a muscle while he watched the spectacle from the opposite baseline. Alcaraz eventually walked toward umpire Mohamed Lahyani, who announced the match was paused.

Alcaraz's agent told reporters that the Spanish star was stung on the head. For what it's worth, Alcaraz was soon seen laughing at his phone at one of the warmup courts, probably watching videos of the strange scene.

As Zverev and Alcaraz found refuge in the locker room, the mass of bees seemed to grow. The broadcast's spider camera served as the epicenter of the swarm and it was rendered almost useless when the bees began to obscure the lens.

A video that was posted by a fan on X captured the bees' attraction to the camera:

Around 40 minutes after the match was paused, someone was seen gently probing the bees away from the anchor of the camera using a vacuum. He didn't wear a bee suit, mask or gloves — just sunglasses as he took matters into his own hands and received a standing ovation from the crowd. He was later identified as tournament staffer Lance Davis.

A similar incident occurred in Major League Baseball years ago. Bees interrupted a game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Los Angeles Angels in 2016. The swarm derailed action for 13 minutes during the third inning of the Angels' 4-0 win.

According to Tommy Paul, bees are normal in tennis. Appearing on the Tennis Channel during the delay, the 25-year-old American tennis star said he was once stung in the neck during a match that also took place in California.

"I lost, by the way," he joked.

Alcaraz will compete against Jannik Sinner of Italy in the semifinals.

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