No. 1 seed Maria Sharapova avoided a stunning collapse in the third set, overcoming the mind-altering heat and her own mistakes to beat Camille Pin 6-3, 4-6, 9-7 yesterday in the first round of the Australian Open.
The temperature, which was 36°C and rising at midday, forced tournament officials to suspend new matches on the outside courts for at least four hours.
While that didn't save Sharapova and Pin from almost three hours in the blazing sun, it meant second-ranked Rafael Nadal had the roof closed for the following match on center court. Nadal won 7-6 (6), 6-3, 6-2 over US player Robert Kendrick.
Sharapova, her screeching intensifying as the temperature and the pressure increased, won five straight games to open the third set. Then she hit a wall.
"I was so delusional I couldn't think," she said. "It was hard to think about what you were going to do on court because you were just mentally trying to find a way to kind of make the points shorter and basically trying to find a way to win"
As Pin ran off five straight games to tie it up, Sharapova's shoulders drooped with each error.
She held for 6-5, but appeared ready to be sick at any moment.
Sharapova barely moved between points, conserving energy. She squandered her third match point as Pin served the next game.
Then Sharapova was broken again, allowing Pin to serve for the match.
Sharapova got back on serve when Pin double-faulted on break point to make it 7-7, then won the next eight points to end the match.
Did she ever think of retiring?
"No. Definitely not," she said. "I'm not a quitter. I'm not just going to stop because of the heat."
Nadal took just more than two hours to beat Kendrick, who forced him to five sets at Wimbledon last year after taking a 2-0 lead.
This time, Kendrick didn't get a break point against the muscular Spaniard. Nadal got one service break in the second set and two in the third, limiting his errors to 14 against 43 by Kendrick.
Kendrick threw everything at Nadal, going for all his shots, lunging and diving all over the court. Kendrick even tossed his racket over the net after an exchange of volleys in the middle of the second set.
Eighth-seeded David Nalbandian grew stronger in the heat as Janko Tipsarevic wilted, but was critical of the officials' decision to keep some matches going while others were delayed.
Tipsarevic retired with heat exhaustion in the fifth -- more than 90 minutes after he wasted his chance at serving for the match -- with Nalbandian leading 6-7 (5), 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-0, 2-1.
Of the effect of the heat, Nalbandian said: "I [thought I] was in the plane back home."
‘CRIMINAL ACT’: The UCI said it ‘strongly condemns’ Dylan Groenewegen’s ‘dangerous behavior,’ which left Jakobsen in critical condition and injured other cyclists Dutch cyclist Fabio Jakobsen was in a coma on Wednesday, in “serious” condition, after he was thrown into and over a barrier at 80kph in the conclusion to the opening stage of the Tour de Pologne. Footage showed 23-year-old Jakobsen, of the Deceuninck-Quick-Step, racing elbow-to-elbow with fellow Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen of Jumbo-Visma as both men frantically tussled in a tight sprint to the line in Katowice. However, Jakobsen came off worst, somersaulting over the barriers before colliding with a photographer after Groenewegen had veered suddenly to the right, squeezing his rival into the security wall. “His condition is very serious. His life is
Growing concern over health standards in e-sports has prompted a new federation to pledge to address the problem, as players fall victim to conditions ranging from wrist injuries to obesity, stress and diabetes. The retirement of top Chinese player Jian Zihao, better known by his gaming handle “Uzi,” sent tremors through the booming sport, whose revenues are predicted to reach US$1.1 billion this year, according to industry analyst Newzoo. The 23-year-old, hailed as an “icon” of the League of Legends game, stepped away from e-sports in June, saying that “chronic stress, obesity, irregular diet, staying up late and other reasons” had given
WEEKEND MATCHES: While Tatung FC made good on their chances early on, Taiwan Steel rallied to win the game 2-3 and move to the top with Taichung Futuro Sunday’s action saw Taichung Futuro, Taipower FC and Taiwan Steel tied for first place on 30 points in the Taiwan Football Premier League, while Hang Yuan FC picked up a point to take the No. 4 spot on 25 points after holding Taipower to a scoreless draw. In Taoyuan, Tatung FC hosted Taiwan Steel. It was an exciting matchup, as the visitors rallied from 2-0 down to take the game with three goals. Tatung made good on their chances early on. Honduran midfielder Elias Argueta opened the account 15 minutes into the game with a low shot from the right. Three minutes
Ronnie O’Sullivan delivered a scathing attack on the next generation of snooker players after he made the quarter-finals of the World Snooker Championship on Sunday, ending Chinese star Ding Junhui’s world championship dream. The mercurial 44-year-old Englishman won an enthralling high-quality second-round encounter 13-10 to set up a quarter-final clash with three-time champion Mark Williams. When asked by the BBC whether he thought he would remain at the top of the game for this long, the Briton, who turned professional in 1992, said the poor quality of younger players had secured his position and that something drastic would have to happen