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Australian Open: Extreme heat brings play to a halt

Melbourne, Australia: The scorching weather finally brought play to a halt on the fourth day of the Australian Open when the temperature topped 43F (109F), but not soon enough for some players who criticized officials
India TV News Desk January 16, 2014 13:31 IST
India TV News Desk
Melbourne, Australia: The scorching weather finally brought play to a halt on the fourth day of the Australian Open when the temperature topped 43F (109F), 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.
   
It was the first time since 2009 play had been halted due to heat at the Australian Open.
   
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 flat on her back during a changeover as trainers rubbed iced on her body.
   
"At first I didn't understand what was going on but then my legs, my arms started to get heavier. I couldn't focus at one point and started feeling dizzier and dizzier," she said.