Jelena Jankovic’s challenge melted in soaring temperatures at Wimbledon on Saturday, while Andy Murray scorched the Centre Court turf as he blasted his way into the second week of the grass-court championships.
Facing an opponent who is allergic to grass, Murray produced a rash of aces — 17 to be exact — to leave Serbia’s Viktor Troicki in agony during a 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 demolition job.
For much of the 96-minute third-round match, played under stormy skies, it seemed as if the All England Club’s new retractable roof might finally make its debut, but Murray appeared in a hurry to get off court as thunder rumbled in the distance.
“It would have been a nice bit of history, I guess, the first match to play under the roof. [But] once it was 5-3 in the third set, I obviously wanted to finish it before the rain came,” said Murray, who is bidding to become the first British man to win the Wimbledon crown in 73 years.
While the Scot was lucky enough to charge his way into the last 16 of the tournament in the cool evening shade, Serbia’s Jankovic looking dazed and confused in searing afternoon heat as she repeatedly called for medical attention.
It was all too much for the former world No. 1 who was stifled 6-7, 7-5, 6-2 in the third round by 124th-ranked teenage American qualifier Melanie Oudin on a roasting Court 3.
Blaming her plight on “some woman problems”, the sixth seed added: “I was like a ghost... I didn’t know where I was. I felt really dizzy and I thought that I was gonna end up in the hospital. I started to shake. I was losing my consciousness.”
“It’s not easy being a woman sometimes,” she said.
French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova joined Jankovic at the exit door. German Sabine Lisicki ruined the Russian’s 24th birthday celebrations with a 6-2, 7-5 win over the fifth seed.
Ana Ivanovic and Venus Williams faced no such problems. They meet each other in the next round.
Williams declared the weather was not hot enough for “a Florida girl.”
“You don’t understand the heat in Florida. I needed a sweater out there,” grinned the five-times champion.
Lleyton Hewitt might also have found the weather too cold to enjoy an ice cream, as he is more used to the 40ºC temperatures in Australia. That did not stop him turning the heat on German Philipp Petzschner with a 7-5, 7-6, 6-3 victory.
He now stands one match away from a potential mouth-watering quarter-final against former finalist Andy Roddick.
The American sixth seed sent down 33 thunderbolt aces as he dispatched Austrian Juergen Melzer 7-6, 7-6, 4-6, 6-3.
Amelie Mauresmo, the 2006 champion, overcame 15th seed Flavia Pennetta to set up a Centre Court showdown with top seed Dinara Safina, who reached the last 16 for the first time by easing past Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens 7-5, 6-1.
Germany’s Tommy Haas, stranded at 6-6 in the fifth set overnight, had to toil in the sun for another six games on Saturday before completing a 7-5, 7-5, 1-6, 6-7, 10-8 win over Croatian 11th seed Marin Cilic.
Chilean 10th seed Fernando Gonzalez was also outfoxed in five sets by Spaniard Juan Carlos Ferrero.
In the mixed doubles, Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei, partnered by Zimbabwe’s Kevin Ullyett, won through to the third round after a 6-3, 6-4 defeat of Jean-Julien Rojer of Netherland Antilles and Galina Voskoboeva of Kazakhstan.
Second seed in the boys’ singles, Taiwan’s Huang Liang-chi, was knocked out in the first round by Britain’s Ashley Hewitt 6-4, 7-5.