Djokovic, Serena turn up heat as Wimbledon sizzles
LONDON – With everyone “feeling hot, hot, hot” at the All England Club on Wednesday it was little wonder that Novak Djokovic, Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams were eager to escape the Wimbledon furnace as quickly as possible.
Spectators sitting under the searing sun on Wimbledon’s Henman Hill were heard breaking out into the Buster Poindexter anthem that aptly summed up the hottest day of the year in Britain — with the mercury hitting 93 degrees Fahrenheit.
Champion Djokovic was spared the worst of the heat on the partly covered Centre Court as he kept things simple in a 90-minute 6-4 6-2 6-3 second-round demolition job that ended the Wimbledon career of seasoned Finn Jarkko Nieminen.
His opponent in the next round, Australian Bernard Tomic, will be hoping the weather eases for their Friday showdown after complaining it was “too hot”.
“I was starting to get dizzy out there with the heat hitting me… I was very dizzy out there,” Tomic said after beating Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert 7-6(3) 6-4 7-6(5).
The blazing sun was the least of Sharapova’s concerns, however.
“It’s much much warmer in my hometown in Longboat Key, Florida,” the Russian fourth seed said after subduing Dutchwoman Richel Hogenkamp 6-3 6-1.
What would have concerned her though is her misfiring serves.
The 2004 champion was left red-faced as she fired down three successive double faults to surrender her serve at 4-2 up in the first set but survived that blip to win eight of the next nine games.
Court Two also hosted the other half of tennis’s golden couple with Sharapova’s boyfriend Grigor Dimitrov, the 11th seed, outlasting American Steve Johnson 7-6(8) 6-2 7-6(2).
“Everyone was talking about it’s hot, it’s hot. To me it was just such good weather today,” said the 2014 semi-finalist who will next take on Frenchman Richard Gasquet.
Williams might want to drop Marin Cilic and Ricardas Berankis a thank you note after the duo’s five-set thriller meant she did not have to step on to Centre Court till almost 7pm.
However, the slightly cooler conditions did not mean the American world number one wanted to hang around longer than necessary as she took another step closer to winning her fourth successive major. She whooped in delight after completing a 6-4 6-1 pummelling of Hungarian Timea Babos.
While U.S. Open champion Cilic was relieved to be still standing following a 6-3 4-6 7-6(6) 4-6 7-5 win over Lithuania’s Berankis, the same could not be said of his Flushing Meadows final victim.
Fifth seed Kei Nishikori spared his battered body further punishment after he pulled out of his second-round match against Santiago Giraldo with a calf strain.
“I was hurting too much,” said the man whose exit will be a huge blow back in hisJapanese homeland.
Nishikori was not the only one needing medical attention on day three of the championships as a ballboy had to be wheeled off Court 17 after collapsing during American John Isner’s 6-2 7-6(8) 6-4 win over Australian Matthew Ebden.
“I saw him on the ground. It was a very scary situation,” said Isner. “I’m not a doctor, but it looked like an epileptic seizure. It was very scary. I have heard that he’s doing much better, which is great.”
French Open champion Stan Wawrinka was in cruise control during a 6-3 6-4 7-5 win over Victor Estrella but Milos Raonic was kept on Court One longer than he would have liked by the oldest man in the singles draw.
The Canadian seventh seed hurled down 29 aces, including one clocked at 145 mph, to secure a 6-0 6-2 6-7(5) 7-6(4) victory over 37-year-old Tommy Haas.
Women’s seventh seed Ana Ivanovic became the second top-eight woman to fall as the Serb followed third seed Simona Halep out of the tournament, beaten 6-3 6-4 by 158th ranked American qualifier Bethanie Mattek Sands.
Heather Watson made sure Britain did not suffer a wipeout in the women’s draw as she made it into round three with a 6-4 6-2 win over Slovakia’s former world number five Daniela Hantuchova. – Reuters