Down Under Rundown: Heat is on, Isner is out, Rafa is rolling
We’re back for Day Two at the Australian Open. Check out all the best from Melbourne Park with our Down Under Rundown.
That blistering heat we were told to expect hit the players full force on Day 2. How hot was it? We’ll let the players tell you. And for the record, it topped out at over 106 degrees.
Victoria Azarenka: "Like you’re dancing in a frying pan."
Frank Dancevic (who says he blacked out during his match): "I think it’s definitely hazardous to be out there. It’s dangerous."
— Charlotte Ezdra (@Carla0786) January 14, 2014
Dancevic again: "Having players with so many problems and complaining to the tournament that it’s too hot to play, until somebody dies, they just keep going on with it and putting matches on in this heat."
Andy Murray is concerned that "something bad could happen to one of the players" if matches aren't suspended at #AusOpen due to extreme heat
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) January 14, 2014
— The Slice (@TheSliceTweets) January 14, 2014
Roger Federer: "It was very dry, just hot, stinging sort of sun."
Caroline Wozniacki: "I put the bottle down on the court and it started melting a little bit underneath, the plastic, so you knew it was warm."
If you are going to play at the Australian Open over the next couple of days, better hope it’s at night.
Not that it helped Bernard Tomic.
The temperatures dropped from the searing highs that had players complaining during the day, but Tomic couldn’t take advantage due to a leg injury. He retired from his match against Rafael Nadal after dropping the first set 6-4, to a chorus of boos from the crowd.
So for those keeping score at home, not only did Rafa get to play in the cooler temps, he also got to call it a night early after what amounts to a practice session. That might pay off down the road during a grueling two weeks in the Australian sun.
Well, what do you know. It’s time for the obligatory Maria Sharapova update.
The Russian star played the final match of the night, knocking off American Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-3, 6-4.
Sharapova also debuted a new dress for the occasion, along with sporting an ice vest during breaks to keep cool.
— Higher?!! (@feverhigh) January 14, 2014
— Australian Open (@AustralianOpen) January 14, 2014
It’s a little early for absolutes, but one day after Venus Williams suffered a first-round defeat, the top American man in the draw — No. 13 seed John Isner — had a day to forget.
Isner was forced to retire with a foot injury after losing the first two sets to unheralded Martin Klizan of Slovakia. Isner actually led 4-0 in the second-set tiebreaker before losing his grasp and eventually throwing in the towel.
This isn’t exactly stunning. Isner has never been past the fourth round at the Aussie and his one quarterfinal run at the 2011 US Open remains his greatest major result. Still … top American … out.
There are no other seeded American man. Serena, the No. 1 seed, and No. 13 Sloane Stephens are the only seeded American women.
No. 2 seed Victoria Azarenka, the two-time defending champion in Melbourne, got through with relative ease in her opener Tuesday against Johanna Larsson of Sweden. Azarenka won 7-6 (2), 6-2.
Roger Federer got off to a typically solid start, dispatching local boy James Duckworth 6-4, 6-4, 6-2. He’s the No. 6 seed, and it’s still hard getting to used to him not being a favorite. For now, though, he looks like the Rog of old.
The future Mrs. Rory McIlroy, No. 10 seed Caroline Wozniacki, had even less trouble, ripping Lourdes Dominguez Lino of Spain 6-0, 6-2. A former world No. 1, Woz still has yet to win a major in her career.
A No. 19 seed losing isn’t exactly a huge upset, but it’s about all we had — outside of Isner — on the second day of play. Svetlana Kuznetsova was sent packing by Elina Svitolina of the Ukraine, 6-3, 6-3.
How hot was it Tuesday in Melbourne? Hot enough to want to jump in a fountain, even fully dressed.