Maria Sharapova escapes heat, second-round foe
Maria Sharapova survived the searing heat and an intense challenge from Karin Knapp to advance to the third round of the Australian Open with a grueling 6-3, 4-6, 10-8 win in 3 hours, 28 minutes.
The Associated Press
MELBOURNE, Australia — The scorching weather finally brought play to a halt on the fourth day of the Australian Open when the temperature topped 109 degrees, but not soon enough for some players who criticized officials for not stopping matches earlier.
The Extreme Heat Policy was enacted at Melbourne Park just before 2 p.m. Thursday, suspending all matches on outer courts until the early evening and requiring the closure of the retractable roofs at Rod Laver and Hisense arenas before play could continue on the show courts.
For Maria Sharapova, playing at Rod Laver Arena, the call came too late. The rule dictates the roof can’t be closed until the end of a set in progress, so she was forced to finish a grueling third set against Italian Karin Knapp under the blazing sun.
“Everyone knows there is no tiebreaker in the third set (at the Australian Open), so once you start that set, you’re going to be out there until you’re done,” she said after closing out the 3½-hour match 6-3, 4-6, 10-8.
Other players wilted in the heat. American Varvara Lepchenko received medical treatment during her match against 11th-seeded Romanian Simona Halep, lying on her back as trainers rubbed iced on her body.
She continued but only won one more game in a 4-6, 6-0, 6-1 defeat.
Former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki advanced to the third round in the comfortable confines of a roof-covered Rod Laver Arena, beating American Christina McHale 6-0, 1-6, 6-2.