Djokovic, Sharapova win in 'brutal' weather at Australian Open

Every year tennis players brace themselves for potentially oppressive weather at the Australian Open -- but that does...

Posted: Jan 18, 2018 12:39 PM
Updated: Jan 18, 2018 12:39 PM

Every year tennis players brace themselves for potentially oppressive weather at the Australian Open -- but that doesn't make it any easier to deal with when the intense heat does arrive.

Just ask Gael Monfils.

Temperatures soar to nearly 40 degrees Celsius in Melbourne

Heat rule not implemented

Novak Djokovic, Maria Sharapova, Juan Martin del Potro all win

Roger Federer closes play with straight-sets win

Monfils suspected that he suffered a heat stroke in his outing against Novak Djokovic Thursday, when the thermometer -- according to Australia's Bureau of Meteorology -- peaked at 39.9 degrees Celsius in Melbourne.

Commentators claimed temperatures on court were even higher, soaring to 60 degrees Celsius.

READ: Wozniacki's great escape

READ: Sharapova beats Maria

The Frenchman managed to see out his second-round match after a visit from the tournament doctor, but he lost to Djokovic 4-6 6-3 6-1 6-3 in another eventful encounter between the pair who have both recently been hampered by injuries.

"I got super dizzy," said Monfils, who fell to his 15th straight defeat by the 12-time grand slam winner.

"I think I had a small heat stroke for 40 minutes. Couldn't feel fresh."

'Brutal'

Monfils trained in the heat of Miami in the off-season -- a base in the past for three-time grand slam champion Andy Murray -- but said it was no match for what he encountered on Rod Laver Arena.

"Was pretty hot in Miami," said Monfils. "I thought I was very good. I'm telling you, I was dying on the court for 40 minutes."

Even six-time Australian Open champion Djokovic described the weather as "brutal."

He has had his own issues with the heat, memorably at the 2009 Australian Open against Andy Roddick and 2014 US Open against Kei Nishikori.

"It was obvious that we both suffered today," the Serb, playing his second official match after missing six months with an elbow problem, told on-court interviewer Jim Courier and the crowd.

"Really tough conditions, brutal, especially for the first hour and a half.

"I was coming into the match knowing it was going to be a big challenge for both of us. Just hanging in there, trying to use every single opportunity that is presented. Obviously he wasn't at his best at the end of the second and the entire third set."

Courier -- the former No. 1 and Australian Open winner -- told Djokovic he would limit his questions so the 30-year-old could escape the heat, prompting this reply: "You can ask me as many questions as you want in the locker room, ice bath."

Rafael Nadal, who contests his third-round match Friday when the temperature is forecast to rise to 42 degrees Celsius, called for organizers to use the roof on the three courts that have cover at Melbourne Park -- as much for the fans as players. That didn't happen Thursday.

There was continuous play as the tournament's extreme heat policy wasn't implemented.

Djokovic later told reporters the heat rule should be revisited since players were being pushed to the limit.

"There is a rule about index, combination between temperature and humidity. I'm not so sure about that," he said. "I think there are certain days where you just have to, as a tournament supervisor, recognize that you might need to give players a few extra hours until (the heat) comes down.

"People might say, 'Well, at this level you have to be as a professional tennis player, fit,'" he added. "It's the beginning of the season. You kind of work and train hard to be able to sustain these kind of conditions, to be tough. But I think there is a limit, and that is a level of I guess tolerance between being fit and being, I think, in danger in terms of health.

"It was right at the limit."

'No shame in giving up'

Monfils spared a thought for those in action Friday.

"Good luck to them," he said. "I think sometimes, yeah, we put our body at risk. Just be smart. If you have to give up, it's not a shame."

Monfils appeared to be the player most troubled Thursday. No players retired and men's fifth seed Dominic Thiem even engineered a two-set comeback, rallying against American Denis Kudla 6-7 (6-8) 3-6 6-3 6-2 6-3.

Two-time grand slam champion Garbine Muguruza and Johanna Konta were upset in the open women's draw but neither blamed the conditions, while Maria Sharapova set up a blockbuster clash with resurgent 2016 champion Angelique Kerber.

Stan Wawrinka lost to 97th ranked American Tennys Sandgren 6-2 6-1 6-4, clearly not at his best in his first event since knee surgery and his own six-month layoff.

Wimbledon champion Muguruza suffered from full body cramps amid the heat in Brisbane earlier in January and then withdrew mid-tournament in Sydney, foreshadowing a rocky Australian Open.

Sure enough, world No. 88 Hsieh Su-wei of Taiwan defeated Muguruza 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 and twice grand slam semifinalist Konta -- downed by Hsieh at the French Open last May -- succumbed to lucky loser Bernarda Pera 6-4 7-5.

Kerber on a roll

Like Muguruza, Konta endured fitness concerns in the build up to the year's first major, retiring in the Brisbane quarterfinals with a hip injury prior to a first-round exit in Sydney.

Kerber registered an 11th straight win to begin 2018 in beating Donna Vekic 6-4 6-1, with Sharapova getting the better of her conqueror at the US Open, Anastasija Sevastova, 6-1 7-6 (7-4).

Sharapova returned to Melbourne Park this year after sitting out the 2017 edition due to a drug suspension.

"I was watching this tournament with a box of Kleenex next to me, sick," the five-time grand slam winner said. "So I feel like I transported myself into the TV this year and I'm finding myself on Rod Laver Arena competing. A lot of things to smile about.

Great to be back

"I wanted to be here. I got myself here. Yeah, it's great to be back."

Women's No. 1 Simona Halep showed no ill-effects from the ankle injury she sustained in the first round, comfortably dispatching 2014 Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard 6-2 6-2 in the night session.

Juan Martin del Potro, the 2009 US Open winner, overcame a medical timeout for a left leg injury to oust Karen Khachanov 6-4 7-6 (7-4) 6-7 (0-7) 6-4.

Argentine Del Potro is one of the danger men for Roger Federer in the Swiss' quarter of the draw but another one, seventh seed David Goffin, was upset by veteran Julien Benneteau 1-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-1 7-6 (7-4).

Visit our tennis page for more Australian Open coverage

Federer faces Germany's Jan-Lennard Struff in Thursday's second night match on Rod Laver Arena.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 314710

Reported Deaths: 7254
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21646260
Hinds20369416
Harrison17949309
Rankin13643278
Jackson13450246
Madison10113217
Lee9986174
Jones8384163
Forrest7689152
Lauderdale7198240
Lowndes6403148
Lamar623686
Lafayette6203119
Washington5341134
Bolivar4802132
Oktibbeha462998
Panola4596107
Pearl River4519146
Marshall4450103
Warren4393121
Pontotoc420872
Monroe4115133
Union411176
Neshoba4031176
Lincoln3969110
Hancock379586
Leflore3498125
Sunflower336290
Tate334784
Pike3327105
Scott316274
Alcorn313368
Yazoo311770
Itawamba300577
Copiah297465
Coahoma295579
Simpson295388
Tippah288768
Adams286982
Prentiss280060
Marion269380
Leake268473
Wayne262841
Grenada261587
Covington259881
George248148
Newton246862
Winston227581
Tishomingo227067
Jasper221148
Attala214473
Chickasaw208057
Holmes189174
Clay185554
Stone182833
Tallahatchie178941
Clarke178080
Calhoun170932
Yalobusha164638
Smith162534
Walthall134245
Greene130633
Lawrence128724
Montgomery127142
Noxubee126734
Perry126338
Amite123142
Carroll121829
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis107133
Tunica105726
Claiborne102430
Benton100025
Humphreys96733
Kemper95828
Franklin83923
Quitman81116
Choctaw76418
Wilkinson67531
Jefferson65728
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 539829

Reported Deaths: 11038
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson798271529
Mobile41261809
Madison35132506
Tuscaloosa25915455
Shelby25294249
Montgomery24705593
Baldwin21392310
Lee15987172
Calhoun14569319
Morgan14422280
Etowah13918353
Marshall12275225
Houston10641282
Elmore10147206
Limestone10065151
St. Clair9946245
Cullman9761194
Lauderdale9457243
DeKalb8865188
Talladega8339176
Walker7260278
Autauga7001108
Jackson6836112
Blount6771139
Colbert6320135
Coffee5578118
Dale4876113
Russell445138
Chilton4369113
Franklin426282
Covington4138118
Tallapoosa4044153
Escambia394777
Chambers3590123
Dallas3568153
Clarke351461
Marion3137101
Pike311977
Lawrence302698
Winston275773
Bibb264564
Geneva254078
Marengo249665
Pickens234862
Barbour232056
Hale223978
Butler219069
Fayette212662
Henry189643
Cherokee184645
Randolph182442
Monroe178141
Washington167739
Macon161150
Clay157157
Crenshaw153557
Cleburne149641
Lamar143236
Lowndes140553
Wilcox127430
Bullock123242
Conecuh110829
Coosa109228
Perry107826
Sumter104932
Greene92634
Choctaw61024
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Mostly Cloudy
79° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 80°
Columbus
Partly Cloudy
80° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 80°
Oxford
Partly Cloudy
79° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 80°
Starkville
Partly Cloudy
79° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 79°
High pressure will continue to dominate our weather forecast for the end of the weekend. We will see our area filled with plenty of sunshine but clouds will be on the increase into the evening hours. There will be some changes for the start work week in our weather forecast as low pressure brings back some chances for showers and thunderstorms.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather