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Friday, January 17, 2014
World No 4 Andy Murray has rejected the
idea of moving the Australian Open to avoid
the searing summer heat that left his brother
with heat stroke.
e extreme heat policy was finally invoked
yesterday, the third consecutive day with
temperatures above 40degC.
Murray s older brother required two hours
of medical super vision for heat stroke after
victory in the men s doubles with Australian
partner John Peers.
e Scotsman said his brother, who suffered
cramping mid-match, was not in a "great way".
"He drank loads when he got off the court
but he was finding it quite hard to eat.
"He was struggling for a good three or four
hours after the match," Murray said.
Murray, the Wimbledon champion,
believed there would be discussions between
the ATP men s tour and the International
Tennis Federation about how the tournament
handled the heat.
"I m sure there will be some discussions to
maybe shore up the rules a bit and make it
easier for everybody to understand."
Murray did not want the grand slam pushed
back to February, when it is usually slightly
cooler in Melbourne.
"Let s remember that it s the first time it s
ever been like this. I don t really mind the place
it is in the calendar. It rewards the guys ... you
can see who s put the work in the off-season
and that s why I like it being where it is."
Meanwhile, in today s matches Serena
Williams will continue her title defence against
Slovakian Daniela Hantuchova to open
proceedings on Rod Laver Arena. Samantha
Stosur is the first in the night matches, up
against former world No 1 Ana Ivanovic, and
then men s champion Novak Djokovic against
Denis Istomin from Uzbekistan. --- AAP
Two days ago Marina Erakovic produced
one of the best performances of her career;
yesterday she followed it up with one of her
e New Zealand No 1 was ousted from
the second round of the Australian Open by
Kazakhstan s Zarina Diyas 6-4, 6-0 in only
Last night she and partner Jie Zheng lost
their doubles encounter to cap a day to
forget. e 10th seeds went down 6-3, 6-3
to French duo Caroline Garcia and Alize
e doubles match started about 6.30pm
after play was delayed due to excessive heat.
It finished about 10.30pm after lightning
and rain delayed it further.
Erakovic summed up the conditions in
Melbourne with one simple quote. "It s just
the weirdest weather ever," she said. Her first
match yesterday was a massive opportunity
Diyas is ranked 152 in the world, 100
places lower than the Kiwi, and came
through qualifying. It was Diyas first
appearance at a grand slam tournament and
the 20-year-old has spent most of her career
playing in the second-tier ITF circuit after
an unspectacular junior career.
Erakovic might never have a better
chance to progress to the third round of the
Australia Open. Defeat was made worse by
the fact she toppled 21st seed Sorana Cirstea
6-4, 7-6 in the first road. e 25-year-
old labelled that performance her best in
Melbourne. at it was followed quickly
by one of her worst will be particularly
disappointing --- one of her goals for 2014
was to be more consistent.
e temperature when she started her
match against Diyas on court 13 was
39degC. An hour later it had risen to
e heat appeared to affect Erakovic. She
seemed unstable on her feet at times and her
mother left the stands midway through the
match to seek shade.
Diyas also played near the top of her
game, hitting a high number of winners
--- 27 --- off forehand and backhand and
often clipping the line. e first set was
close before Erakovic was broken twice in
two weak service games --- she broke back
immediately after the first --- but Erakovic
unravelled in the second set without
winning a game.
She struggled with her serve, getting only
50% of her first serves in, and converted
only one of 10 break point opportunities.
"It s the toughest, longest day ever that I ve
had at a Grand Slam I would say," she said.
"It started at 7am and now finished at
10.30pm. In the singles it was a tough one,
I came out a bit nervous and a bit tight. I
wasn t connecting with my shots.
"To be honest I was really struggling with
the heat after a long rally. It was tough,
but hats off to her she looked like she was
cruising. She made some pretty good shots
and coped with the heat. ere was not
much I could do about it."
Erakovic believed rules around delays for
excessive heat could be simplified.
"You should have seen the locker room
after the first couple of matches. It wasn t
just me. Girls were just being iced down
because they were just in a haze. ey
(tournament organisers) really have to set a
rule ... (that) it s at somebody s discretion to
risk your health isn t that great."
Yesterday s results continued a poor start
to 2014. Erakovic was badly out of touch
against Lauren Davis in the first round at
the ASB Classic, afterwards admitting she
struggled with the pressure of playing in
Auckland, and was also ousted in the first
round in Hobart by Kirsten Flipkens. She
also lost first round doubles matches at both
tournaments. --- APNZ
Rafa Nadal swept into the Australian Open
third round under the Rod Laver Arena roof
yesterday but Juan Martin Del Potro was sent
packing as sweltering temperatures, lightning
and rain caused chaos on the outside courts.
Fifth seed Del Potro, whose match was
shunted back to the late evening by the
disruptions, was the first major casualty of the
men s draw in the early hours of this morning
when he lost 4-6, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4, 7-5 to 62nd
ranked Spaniard Roberto Bautista.
On a third consecutive day of sauna-like
heat and with temperatures climbing towards
a peak of 43.4degC, organisers finally enacted
the third stage of their "extreme heat policy"
after three hour s play.
Play was suspended for more than four
hours on the exposed outer courts and, in a
bizarre turn of events, the players had been
back on court for less than two hours when a
thunderstorm sent them scuttling back to the
Matches continued on the Rod Laver
Arena and Hisense Arena throughout both
stoppages, the latter lasting nearly two hours,
after the retractable roofs over the showcourts
at allowed Nadal, Victoria Azarenka
and Roger Federer to charge through their
second round ties before the Rod Laver
Arena was again exposed to the elements for
Andy Murray to join them in the third round
in the evening cool.
"For me, everything was fine," defending
champion Azarenka said after beating
Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 6-1, 6-4.
"Played under the closed roof so lightning
couldn t hit me. I didn t feel the heat. I didn t
get sunburned. I was in the perfect conditions
ird seed Maria Sharapova had a tougher
time, though, and a quirk of the rules
meant her match against Karin Knapp was
concluded in the full glare of the sun some 50
minutes after it was adjudged too dangerous
e Russian reflected the confusion and
anger of players over the last three days at a
perceived lack of transparency over when the
extreme heat policy is put into force.
"No one really knows what the limit is," she
said after closing out a 6-3, 4-6, 10-8 victory
over the inspired Italian. Not the players
(nor) the trainers themselves when you ask
them when will the roof be closed."
Top seed Nadal took advantage of slightly
cooler conditions under the roof to administer
a 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 thrashing to plucky 17-year-
old Australian anasi Kokkinakis.
e Spaniard, seeking a second Australian
Open title, was delighted to be able to play
indoors rather than in the furnace heat
outside but more so that his serve had worked
"It was important that the serve was there
during the whole match," he said.
"It is very important here and it was
Federer also picked out his "rock solid" serve
as a highlight of his 107-minute 6-2, 6-1, 7-6
(4) demolition of Blaz Kavcic on Hisense
Arena, where he had not played, under the
roof or otherwise, for 10 years.
e four-times Australian Open champion
selected a highly aggressive strategy to deal
with the Slovenian world No 99 and it paid
off impressively when he wrapped up the
first two sets inside an hour. "I think in these
conditions and on the hard courts it s what
we want to try to do, especially early in the
tournament, without taking stupid chances,"
Federer said, who battled back from 3-0
down to win the decisive tie-break.
"Of course, I was overly aggressive at times,
but I d rather be that than overly passive."
Murray displayed his customary brand
of controlled aggression to beat France s
Vincent Millot 6-2, 6-2, 7-5 in his fourth
competitive match since returning from four
months on the sidelines after back surgery.
Millot flourished an ironic bow after
holding serve early in the third set but then
proceeded to break Murray twice to lead 5-1
before the Scottish fourth seed reasserted
himself by winning 23 consecutive points to
finish the match.
"I didn t really care about winning 23 points
in a row, I wanted to win the match," the
Wimbledon champion said.
"I m glad I finished it there, because very,
very hard conditions. Even in the evening it
was so humid."
Wo m e n s fifth seed Agnieszka Radwanska
registered a two-set win over Olga Govortsova
under the Hisense Arena roof but 10th seed
Caroline Wozniacki needed a topsy-tury
three to down American Christina McHale
6-0, 1-6, 6-2.
e weather disruptions led to some violent
swings in the matches on the outer courts.
American Varvara Lepchenko won the first
set but, clearly struggling in the morning
heat, losing 11 straight games on her way to a
4-6, 6-0, 6-1 loss to Simona Halep.
"I think they definitely should have not
started the matches at first place," she said.
"I think they should have started the matches
after the temperature cooled down a little bit
because this is just too much."
Her compatriot Donald Young, though,
said he had benefited from the weather-
induced break in play to beat Italian Andreas
Seppi 6-4, 2-6, 6-3, 4-6, 7-5.
" e suspension was good for me, he was
totally in control," Young said. "A little bit of
rest did me a lot of good."
Sloane Stephens, a semi-finalist here last
year, prevailed through several swings of
fortunes to beat Ajla Tomljanovic 3-6, 6-2,
7-5 and was just thankful to get off court
unscathed after the storm.
"I was like, it s lightning !" she recalled.
"Where is the siren? I don t know. Just kind
of freaked me out. It was weird." --- Reuters
Murray doesn t want Open date change
follow sauna heat
Nadal and Federer unruffled
PICTURE: Getty Images
Maria Sharapova cools off during her
match against Karin Knapp at yesterday s
Australian Open in Melbourne.
Erakovic s Open over
PICTURE: Viv Logie
Greymouth tennis player Bryce Brown
ser ves during his match against Sam Robb in
the 12-years boys section of the West Coast
Junior Open championships in Greymouth
this morning. Players from around the South
Island are taking part and in their briefing
this morning they were told they could wear
tracksuits during their matches due to the
cold weather --- the opposite to players in the
Australian Open in Melbourne this week who
are battling temperatures in excess of 40degC.
e West Coast event runs until Sunday.
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