Published: Thu, January 18, 2018
Money | By Armando Alvarado

Novak Djokovic survives brutal heat test at Australian Open

Novak Djokovic survives brutal heat test at Australian Open

Because of radiated heat from the stands, the temperature reportedly reached 69C in the middle of Rod Laver Arena during Novak Djokovic's four-set win over Gael Monfils.

Gael Monfils, for one, staggered through a good portion of his second-round match against Novak Djokovic, bending over repeatedly to catch his breath between points and at one stage returning to the comfort of his shaded chair without even attempting to return Djokovic's serve.

"I think the surface of the court, I don't know how much heat, it's bad, very, very hot, and it's easy to get blisters and red", she said.

Djokovic urged tennis organizers to be more flexible about the rules for drink breaks, time between points and suspension of play when the conditions were bordering on risky.

Melbourne temperatures are set to hit 107 degrees on Friday, and Monfils had a piece of advice for every player taking the court.

Djokovic agreed, describing the conditions "brutal" and some of the toughest he's ever played in.

Djokovic looked far from his best in the 39-degree heat but was still too good for the enigmatic world No.39, maintaining his ideal record against Monfils with a 4-6 6-3 6-1 6-3 victory.

"It was right at the limit", Djokovic said.

Muguruza did have to stop at one point to wrap her feet to prevent blistering from the hot court. I think I had a small heat stroke out there.

Djokovic, playing his first tournament for six months because of an elbow problem, dropped his opening two service games and although he battled back to break Monfils twice he wavered again as scrappy opener went his opponents' way. "Acupuncture", she said. "Not my favourite. but it helps a lot". Was pretty hot. I thought I was very good.

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"People might say, "well, at this level you have to be as a professional tennis player fit", he said.

"I think the surface of the court, I don't know how much heat, (but) it's bad", she said. But I think there is a limit, and that is a level of tolerance between being fit and being in danger in terms of health. "I think sometimes, yeah, we put our body at risk. Just be smart. If you have to give up, it's not a shame".

Eighth seed Caroline Garcia also stayed in the title hunt, but she found it hard going against Czech teen Marketa Vondrousova who pushed her to three gruelling sets.

"I wouldn't have minded to play during the day", Federer said. "I just have to accept it, embrace it, obviously hope for a better day tomorrow and next match".

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.

"I was watching this tournament with a box of Kleenex next to me, sick", the five-time grand slam victor said.

Briton Johanna Konta, ranked 10th in the world, crashed out to world No. 123 Bernarda Pera in the second round, with the American winning 6-4, 7-5 defeat. I got myself here.

World No 1 Simona Halep, who was unconvincing in her first round encounter, takes on Canadian Eugenie Bouchard.

Juan Martin del Potro, the 2009 US Open victor, 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.

Del Potro, who reached the third round in Melbourne for the fifth time, is looking to improve in his quarterfinal appearances in 2009 and 2012, losing to Roger Federer both times. French veteran Julien Benneteau recovered from a flat start to beat seventh seed David Goffin 1-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-1, 7-6 (7-4) in the second round.

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