Stanislas Wawrinka added a win over Rafael Nadal to his list of firsts in a stunning run to his maiden Grand Slam title, extending his rival’s injury-cursed run at the Australian Open with a 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 upset in Sunday’s final.
The 28-year-old Wawrinka had never taken a set off Nadal in 12 previous meetings, but attacked from the start against the 13-time major winner and regained his nerve after dropping the third set against the injured Spaniard.
Nadal appeared to be on the verge of retiring in the second set, when he hurt his back and needed a medical time out, but he refused to quit.
“It’s really not the way you want to win a tennis match, but in a Grand Slam final I’ll take it,” said Wawrinka, the first man in 21 years to beat the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked players en route to a Grand Slam title. (Photos: Saeed Khan/AFP/Getty Images, Paul Crock/AFP/Getty Images)
Maria Sharapova toiled in 43-degree Celsius (109 F) temperatures for more than 3 1/2 hours on Rod Laver Arena and could count herself among the unlucky early starters at the oppressively hot Australian Open on Thursday.
Organizers invoked their ‘Extreme Heat Policy’ and the roofs on the two main arenas were closed in the afternoon. Matches on outside courts, meanwhile, were suspended for more than four hours until temperatures dropped.
At the height of the heat, Sharapova, dripping in sweat, wasted three match points on serve in the 10th game of the third set, and then had to save break points and serve to stay in the match.
No. 25-seeded Alize Cornet of France, who will play Sharapova next, sobbed on court Thursday after her draining 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 victory, then blasted officials for not halting play sooner.
“On Tuesday, I don’t know why they didn’t stop matches,” she said. “It was an oven. An oven. It was burning. Why today and not Tuesday?
“I went really further than my limits. It was really hot, that’s why I’m so emotional,” Cornet said of the conditions. (Photos: Mal Fairclough/AFP/Getty Images, William West/AFP/Getty Images)
'I saw Snoopy': If the forecast of four consecutive days of 40-plus degrees Celsius (104-plus degrees Fahrenheit) temperatures in Melbourne proves correct, it will be the worst heat wave in the city in more than a century.
Canada’s Frank Dancevic collapsed during his match at the Australian Open on Tuesday. He later told reporters he saw Snoopy in a hallucination.
“I was dizzy from the middle of the first set and then I saw Snoopy and I thought, ‘Wow Snoopy, that’s weird,’” Dancevic said. (Photos: Aijaz Rahi/The Associated Press)