Japanese tennis ace Kei Nishikori advanced to the third round of the Australian Open by beating Serbian Dusan Lajovic in straight sets, 6-1, 6-1, 7-6 (7/3) on Thursday. But probably the players’ toughest opponent in the year’s first Grand Slam tournament is the oppressive, record-breaking heat that has forced the suspension of the rest of the matches today.
Nishikori, who’s coming off winning the Kooyong Classic final during the weekend, has managed to reach the third round of the Australian Open for the fourth consecutive year. Now coached by former American tennis superstar and French Open winner Michael Chang, the world no. 17 aims to better his best finish in Melbourne two years ago when he reached the quarterfinals. He was in fine form on Thursday, as he quickly won the first two sets, breaking Lajovic’s serve six times and lost his serve only once, in the final set which reached a tie-breaker. He hit 16 winners with his forehand and 30 all in all, and just had 27 unforced errors.
However the extreme heat in Melbourne has affected a lot of the players, with some experiencing dizzy spells, fainting, vomiting, heatstroke and even serious health problems. Organizers decided to suspend play at the end of the set for all outside courts as temperatures hit 42 celsius. Players have been complaining that the organizers have allowed play to continue despite the risky high temperatures and several medical cases already. This year’s heat wave can be compared to 2009 when bushfires in the nearby state devoured towns, leaving 173 dead.
[ via Channel News Asia ]
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