MELBOURNE – The Australian Open finally invoked the extreme heat rule shortly after 2 p.m. today.
It was pretty clear walking around the grounds that this day was a fair bit worse than the previous two 40-degrees-plus days the tournament has experienced.
So the roof in Hisense Arena was closed after Jo-Wilfried Tsonga won the first set over Thomaz Bellucci in a tiebreak.
Meanwhile, on Rod Laver Arena, Maria Sharapova and a plucky Karin Knapp played on into extra time, because the rule requires that the roof be closed (or play stopped) only at the end of a set.
On the outside courts, same story. Those who reached the end of a set stopped, others played on.
Word is that there won’t be any play until at least 5 p.m. And since that’s approaching the very hottest part of the day, it’s doubtful we’ll see any at that point. It’s just sort of a first marker.
The players aren’t allowed on the practice courts, either.
Here are the matches that played on, in addition to Sharapova-Knapp (which finally ended in Sharapova’s favour, 10-8 in the third):
Carla Suarez Navarro edged out Galina Voskoboeva 8-6 in the third.
Garbine Muguruza finished off Anna Schmiedlova 6-3, 6-3
Mirnyi and Youzhny, who were up a set and 5-5 against Monroe/Zeballos, finally finished about 3 p.m. with a 6-3, 7-6 (7) win.
Stéphane Robert leads Michael Przysiezny 76 (3)
Andreas Seppi tied with Donald Young 46 62 36 64
Niculescu/Zakopalova lead Begu/Cirstea 6-3
Bopanna/Qureshi tied with Junaid/Mannarino 63 46
LL Martin Klizan leads [Q] Blaz Rola 64 63
Bertens/Flipkens lead Hradecka/Krajicek 63.
(Djoker/Rafter pic from Djokovic’s Twitter feed)