MELBOURNE, Australia — Some matches were suspended Thursday at the Australian Open, with organizers implementing the Extreme Heat Policy when the temperature reached 42 Celsius (108 Fahrenheit).
Matches on the outer courts were stopped at the end of sets that were in progress when the heat rules went into effect. Matches in progress on the show courts continued, with the retractable roofs on Rod Laver and Hisense arenas to be closed at the completion of ongoing sets.
Australian Open organizers invoked part of the special conditions before play began, allowing women’s matches to have an extended break after the second set and players to wear ice vests during changeovers.
Temperatures were forecast to reach 44 Celsius (111 Fahrenheit) at Melbourne Park on Thursday.
No. 25 Alize Cornet of France sobbed on court after her draining 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 victory over Italian Camila Giorgi, which lasted 21⁄2 hours.
“I think I spent enough time on this court for today,” she said in her post-match, on-court interview. “I went really further than my limits. It was really hot, that’s why I’m so emotional.”
“Doing something physical in this heat it’s just unbelievable. Even you guys (in the crowd) sitting in the sun, it must be terrible.”
Cornet plays the winner of the match between Maria Sharapova and Italian Karin Knapp on Saturday, when the temperatures are predicted to drop to highs of 21 Celsius (70 Fahrenheit).
“I’m so happy now, I can play in normal conditions,” she said, pumping her fists over her head.
Maria Sharapova survived the searing heat and intense challenge from Karin Knapp to advance to the third round of the Australian Open with a grueling 6-3, 4-6, 10-8 win in 3 hours, 28 minutes.
It was already 39C (102F) when No. 3-seeded Sharapova’s match started and increased to 42.5C (108.5), forcing organizers to enact the Extreme Heat Policy and suspend matches on outside courts.
Sharapova, playing her second tournament back from extended time off for a right shoulder injury, wore ice vests in every changeover after the third game, draped ice bags over shoulders and poured water over her head.
Breaking news, severe weather alerts, AMBER alerts, sports scores from The Norman Transcript are available as text messages right to your phone or mobile device. You decide which type of alerts you want to receive. Find out more or to signup, click here.