Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 17th 2014 Contents A53
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Twelve matches scheduled for yesterday
were postponed and rescheduled, including
the doubles duo of Serena and Venus
Williams, who have won 13 Grand Slam
doubles titles together.
ATTENDANCE: The heat has thinned out
crowds at Melbourne Park. Attendance
peaked for the two sessions on Monday, Day
1, at 63,595 when it was sunny with a high of
31 Celsius (88 Fahrenheit).
The heat wave arrived Tuesday with a hot
breeze and high of 42 Celsius (108
Fahrenheit). Attendance dipped to 53,627.
A smaller crowd totaling 49,860 came
Yesterday was the hottest day so far, and
the numbers picked up to 53,226 due to a
slightly larger night attendance.
WHAT DOES TODAY HOLD?: Bad news for
playing tennis outside today. The forecast is
But on a brighter note, a cold front moves
in tomorrow with the forecasters predicting a
maximum of 23 C (73 F).
Bad news for Melbourne tennis fans
MELBOURNE---Melbourne is known for its wacky
weather. The joke here is that you can experience
four seasons in one day. But the heat wave that
started Tuesday and is forecast to end on the week-
end has brought what meteorologists are estimating
as the longest stretch of weather this hot since
That s been bad news for the tennis players at the
Australian Open, where yesterday was the hottest
day so far.
There were the unlucky morning starters, like Maria
Sharapova who played in 43 degree C (109 F) heat
and cooled off at changeovers with ice vests on their
bodies and ice collars around their necks. Some called
trainers to complain of head spins, blurred vision
and cramping from dehydration.
By mid-afternoon, the Australian Open invoked
its "Extreme Heat Policy" and suspended play for
four hours on outdoor courts and closed the retractable
roofs at Rod Laver and Hisense Arena. That allowed
other stars like No. 1 Rafael Nadal, No. 6 Roger Federer
and No. 2 Victoria Azarenka to play indoors.
"I never actually experienced the heat today," said
Federer, who advanced easily to the third round.
Later in the day after temperatures dipped, Sloane
Stephens looked up to see "crazy, ridiculous" light-
ening zig-zagging through the sky, which caused
another delay. (AP)
MELBOURNE---Maria Sharapova toiled in
43-degree Celsius (109 F) temperatures for
more than 3 1/2 hours on Rod Laver Arena
and could count herself among the unlucky
early starters at the oppressively hot Aus-
tralian Open yesterday.
After organizers finally decided to suspend
matches due to extreme temperatures in a
heat wave gripping southeastern Australia,
late lighting and rain caused further delays
on day four.
Caroline Wozniacki highlighted the unpre-
dictable Melbourne weather, describing the
conditions as "pleasant" when she played on
Rod Laver Arena immediately after Sharapova.
And comparatively, it was. Rafael Nadal and
Roger Federer also enjoyed the milder tem-
peratures when they played evening matches
The roof at Rod Laver Arena re-opened
when weather conditions improved, and
Wimbledon champion Andy Murray won the
last 23 points in the featured night match to
come back from 5-1 down in the third set
and beat French qualifier Vincent Millot 6-
2, 6-2, 7-5.
"It was 6-5 when I went to serve for it,
and someone shouted out, You won 19 in
a row ," Murray said. "I would say that s prob-
ably the most I d ever won in my career by
far. I don t really know how I did it."
In the biggest upset so far at the tourna-
ment, No. 5-seeded Juan Martin del Potro
ended a long day at Melbourne Park by losing
his second-round match 4-6, 6-3, 5-7, 6-
4, 7-5 to Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut.
The three-hour, 53-minute match finished
at 1.20 am this morning, more than 14 hours
after play began on day four.
Earlier, organisers invoked their Extreme
Heat Policy and the roofs on the two main
arenas were closed in the afternoon. Matches
on outside courts, meanwhile, were suspended
for more than four hours until temperatures
Problems with the weather didn t end there
---thunderstorms, lightning and rain showers
hit during the early evening, forcing another
suspension of play for matches on the outer
Defending champion Victoria Azarenka
was spared, playing indoors when she beat
Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 6-1, 6-4.
Her main rival on the bottom half of the
draw had to endure the harshest conditions
of the day.
The temperature was 39 C (102 F) when
Sharapova s match against No. 44-ranked
Karin Knapp started just after 11 a.m. local
time. It increased to almost 43 C by the time
she finished off a 6-3, 4-6, 10-8 win on her
fourth match point, 50 minutes after her first.
It was the longest women s match so far in
"I wanted this match," Sharapova said. "I
didn t play my best tennis; I didn t do many
things well ... (but) I got through it, and some-
times that s what s important."
At the height of the heat, Sharapova, drip-
ping in sweat, wasted three match points on
serve in the 10th game of the third set, and
then had to save break points and serve to
stay in the match.
She ll next meet No. 25 Alize Cornet of
France, who sobbed on court after beating
Camila Giorgi of Italy 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in 2 1/2
hours. Wozniacki had a 6-0, 1-6, 6-2 win
over American Christina McHale, No. 8 Jelena
Jankovic defeated Ayumi Morita 6-2, 6-0
and No. 13 Sloane Stephens, who beat Serena
Williams here last year in the quarterfinals,
defeated Ajla Tomljanovic 3-6, 6-2, 7-5.
Federer played on the second show court
at Melbourne Park for the first time in a
decade, and raced to a 6-2, 6-1, 7-6 ( 4) win
over Blaz Kavcic under the roof at Hisense
Arena. Federer said he didn t mind the switch
--- he d played 63 consecutive matches on
Rod Laver since 2004.
"It was nice ... it s not really different to
Rod Laver Arena really," Federer said. "Dimen-
sions feel the same, the crowds were really
nice, great atmosphere. I was happy playing
He was playing at the same time as Nadal
for the first time in years at Melbourne Park.
Nadal had no trouble in a 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 win
over Australian wild-card entry Thanasi
Kokkinakis under the roof on Rod Laver Arena.
"Very happy to see the roof out there today,"
No. 16 Kei Nishikori had a 6-1, 6-1, 7-6
(3) win over Dusan Lajovic. He will next play
American Donald Young, who beat No. 24
Andreas Seppi 6-4, 2-6, 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 in
one of the matches suspended for nearly four
hours due to the heat.
Other winners included No. 10 Jo-Wilfried
Tsonga, No. 11 Milos Raonic, No. 18 Gilles
Simon, No. 22 Grigor Dimitrov and No. 25
Organisers announced that Canadian Vasek
Pospisil withdrew with a back injury from
his scheduled third-round match today against
No. 8 Stanislas Wawrinka. (AP)
Sharapova in scorcher
Maria Sharapova of Russia wraps an ice-towel around her head during a break in her
second round match against Karin Knapp of Italy at the Australian Open tennis
championship in Melbourne, Australia, yesterday. Temperatures are expected to top 44cC
(112 F) during play today. AP PHOTO
Play pauses at
Aussie Open as
temp tops 43C
GUIDELINES FOR HALTING PLAY: Matches can be stopped
and the tournament's two retractable roofs closed at the
discretion of tournament director Wayne McKewen. He makes
his decision while monitoring the wet bulb globe temperature
index, a calibration based on temperature, humidity, wind speed
and sunshine. Extreme heat halted play during several days of
the 2006 tournament. The hottest Australian Open on record
was in 2009, when the average temperature across two weeks
was 34.7 degrees C (94.46 F).
THE CONTROVERSY: The heat and the tournament's delayed
decision to halt play sparked debate about whether it was
dangerous to have allowed matches since Tuesday when the
heat wave started.
A few thoughts from those who endured the heat, and those
who did not.
No. 25-seeded Alize Cornet of France sobbed on court, then
blasted officials for not halting play sooner.
"On Tuesday, I don't know why they didn't stop matches," she
said. "It was an oven. An oven. It was burning. Why today and
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova said it was "ridiculous" to have
played outdoors yesterday morning.
American player Varvara Lepchenko said her body broke down
during her three-set loss. She felt "dizzier and dizzier," she
couldn't see the ball. After the match she took an ice bath, drank
a lot of water. "And I just laid down in the locker room for the
past hour because I just couldn't physically get up."
The No. 2-seeded Azarenka played under the roof in the
evening. "It was a little bit humid," she said. "But I can't complain.
I'm sure a lot of players were suffering a little bit more."
Here are some things to know about how
the heat effects the Australian Open:
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