It was a
hot scorching day at Melbourne Park and with temperatures that reached 41°C, four matches (out of 16) went to the limit of five sets, one of which having for result a player getting back to the locker room, having a full body cramp, and ending up on a stretcher with an IV.
Beyond their limits
That player was Slovenian Blaz Kavcic who, even on a stretcher, found the energy to make a little joke after his gruelling, 4:52 marathon against Aussie James Duckworth:
Total physical collapse after the match.. feeling quite happy though, just don’t know, because of my win or morphine twitter.com/blaz_kavcic/st…
— Blaz Kavcic (@blaz_kavcic) Janvier 17, 2013
At first glance, we knew this matchup could be a tight affair. After all, both players have great potential, despite their recent struggles with injuries, and both came to the court with everything to win, and absolutely nothing to lose.
At times, the match was far from pretty, but both guys are known for gritting it out, and this is just what happened.
It is, nevertheless, the fifth set that stays in mind now that everything is done and dusted, as both players, unused to playing so long in such conditions, started to feel the effects of the extreme heat and the length of the match near the business end of the set.
The one who appeared the worst off was Duckworth, who explained after the match how he felt and when it started:
“I’ve cramped a few times in my life, a couple of times in Asia when it was really humid. But, yeah, the last three days have been pretty long and tough and my body certainly started to feel the effects of that in the end of the fifth set.
From about, oh, 3 2 in the fifth my hamstring and quads were locking up. I started off just on serve, and then kind of when I was moving around the baseline. Any kind of sharp movement or quick movement, yeah, I’d lock up. It was quite painful.”
However, despite the cramping and the heat, both players hung on and fought with all their might, pushing their bodies even beyond the limit, each not willing to give an inch to the other.
In the end, it is Blaz Kavcic who left the court victorious, 3-6 6-3 6-4 6-7(3) 10-8, but both players deserve congratulations for having toughed it out in seriously difficult conditions.
Hot hot hot
The weather was unbelievably hot in Melbourne, and another marathon match winner found a nice way to cool down afterwards:
We will not complain about that way of refreshing, Andreas!
Men’s singles (second round)
There have been two upsets on Day 4, the most surprising of which coming from qualifier Ricardas Berankis, who plays much better than his injury-caused ranking suggests, easily having the better of a flat Florian Mayer, and earning himself a third-round meeting with third seed Andy Murray.
The other came from Jérémy Chardy, who appears to finally get back on track under the tutelage of former WTA no 1 Martina Hingis. Chardy defeated Marcel Granollers in four sets and will play his third-round encounter against Juan Martín del Potro, who has been cruising through his first two matches.
Here are the complete results:
-  Roger Federer d. Nikolay Davydenko, 6-3 6-4 6-4
-  Andy Murray d. João Sousa, 6-2 6-2 6-4
-  Juan Martín del Potro d. Benjamin Becker, 6-2 6-4 6-2
-  Jo-Wilfried Tsonga d. Go Soeda, 6-3 7-6(1) 6-3
-  Richard Gasquet d. Alejandro Falla, 6-3 6-2 6-2
-  Marin Cilic d. [Q] Rajeev Ram, 7-5 6-2 6-4
-  Milos Raonic d. Lukas Rosol, 7-6(2) 6-2 6-3
-  Gilles Simon d. Jesse Levine, 2-6 6-3 7-6(4) 6-2
-  Philipp Kohlschreiber d. [Q] Amir Weintraub, 6-2 7-6(4) 6-4
-  Andreas Seppi d. Denis Istomin, 7-6(4) 5-7 6-7(3) 7-6(3) 6-2
- [Q] Ricardas Berankis d.  Florian Mayer, 6-2 6-3 6-1
- Jérémy Chardy d.  Marcel Granollers, 6-3 3-6 6-1 6-2
- Bernard Tomic d. [Q] Daniel Brands, 6-7(4) 7-5 7-6(3) 7-6(8)
- Gaël Monfils d. Yen-Hsun Lu, 7-6(5) 4-6 0-6 6-1 8-6
- Blaz Kavcic d. James Duckworth, 3-6 6-3 6-4 6-7(3) 10-8
- Ivan Dodig d. Jarkko Nieminen, 6-3 6-7(4) 6-3 6-7(4) 6-1
Men’s doubles (first round)
Shock in the men’s doubles, as the defending champions and no 2 seeds, Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek, have been upset by Kevin Anderson and Jonathan Erlich, in straight sets.
Here are the full results:
-  Max Mirnyi/Horia Tecau d. Treat Conrad Huey/Dominic Inglot, 6-7(4) 7-6(8) 6-3
-  Alexander Peya/Bruno Soares d. Jürgen Melzer/Olivier Rochus, 6-3 6-2
-  David Marrero/Fernando Verdasco d. Roberto Bautista Agut/Feliciano López, 7-6(0), ret. (stomach muscle strain – López)
-  Jonathan Marray/Andre Sa d. Lukas Lacko/Igor Zelenay, 4-6 7-5 7-6(5)
- Kevin Anderson/Jonathan Erlich d.  Leander Paes/Radek Stepanek, 6-3 7-5
- John Peers/John-Patrick Smith d.  Mariusz Fyrstenberg/Marcin Matkowski, 6-4 6-7(2) 6-1
- Marcos Baghdatis/Grigor Dimitrov d. Matthew Ebden/Ryan Harrison, 7-6(6) 6-2
- Victor Hanescu/Martin Klizan d. Andre Begemann/Martin Emmrich, 6-3 6-4
- Matthew Barton/John Millman d. Daniel Gimeno-Traver/Marinko Matosevic, 3-6 6-4 7-5
- Tomasz Bednarek/Jerzy Janowicz d. Jamie Delgado/Ken Skupski, 6-0 6-7(2) 6-3
- Xavier Malisse/Dick Norman d. Nicholas Monroe/Grega Zemlja, 6-7(6) 6-2 7-6(6)
- Thomaz Bellucci/Benoît Paire d. Carlos Berlocq/James Cerretani, 6-2 6-1
- Julien Benneteau/Édouard Roger-Vasselin d. Mikhail Elgin/Denis Istomin, 6-0 6-4
- Juan Sebastián Cabal/Robert Farah d. Danai Udomchoke/Jimmy Wang, 3-6 6-3 7-6(9)
- Sergiy Stakhovsky/Mikhail Youzhny d. Sanchai Ratiwatana/Sonchat Ratiwatana, 6-7(5) 6-4 6-2