MELBOURNE: Maria Sharapova survived the searing heat and intense challenge from Karin Knapp to advance to the third round of the Australian Open with a grueling 6-3, 4-6, 10-8 win in 3 hours, 28 minutes on Thursday.
The temperature was forecast to spike at 44 Celsius (111) on the third straight day of a heat wave.
It was already 39C (102F) when No. 3-seeded Sharapova´s match started and increased to 42.5C (108.5), forcing organizers to enact the Extreme Heat Policy and suspend matches on outside courts.
Sharapova, playing her second tournament back from extended time off for a right shoulder injury, wore ice vests in every changeover after the third game, draped ice bags over shoulders and poured water over her head. (AP)