Maria Sharapova took hold of everything icy she could get her hands on in the scorching Melbourne heat and toiled past Italian Karin Knapp after three hours and 28 minutes 6-3 4-6 10-8 to advance to the third round of the Australian Open. Maybe Masha’s sponsor Nike could start branding ice vests?
An hour and a half into the match, Sharapova and Knapp were again even, 1-1 in sets. Then in the beginning of the decider it was Sharapova who led first, 3-1, and even had break points to extend the lead to a double break, but that didn’t happen and the memorable thriller hooked up when Knapp leveled to 3-3. Sharapova then took the lead again, 5-3, while at 5-4 she even had three match points, but Knapp saved them all and leveled yet again 5-5. Eventually Sharapova prevailed, but after serving for the match three times and being two points from defeat before breaking Knapp for a 9-8 lead.
The match was played at 41 Celsius/106 Fahrenheit, while the third set alone, lasting one hour and 55 minutes, was played in the hottest part of the day to that point.
Get women's tennis updates to your inbox.