'Paranoid' Serena survives heat to advance in Melbourne

Wed Jan 15, 2014 12:49am EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Simon Cambers

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - The thought of playing a long match in the extreme Melbourne heat resulted in a sleepless night for Serena Williams, but the world number one need not have worried as she strode swiftly into the Australian Open third round on Wednesday.

The American, trying to win the title for a sixth time, dispatched Vesna Dolonc of Serbia 6-1 6-2 in just over an hour on Rod Laver Arena before scurrying back to the cool sanctuary of the locker room.

"I kept waking up in the middle of the night last night, just paranoid," Williams told reporters of her disrupted sleep.

"I just wanted to stay hydrated. The last thing I want to do is to cramp in this weather. It can happen so easy. I was just drinking a tremendous amount of water."

With temperatures topping 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) for a second successive day, Williams was never troubled by the world number 104 and cruised to victory.

On Tuesday, defending champion Victoria Azarenka said being on court was like "dancing in a frying pan", while Canada's Frank Dancevic slammed organizers for forcing players to compete in inhumane conditions after losing his first round match.

Williams said she tried not to change her game-plan because of the conditions and said the weather was just about bearable.

"I think I probably feel it more in my head, not necessarily in my chest," she said of the heat. "But so far I have been OK.   Continued...

Serena Williams of the U.S. hits a return to Vesna Dolonc of Serbia during their women's singles match at the Australian Open 2014 tennis tournament in Melbourne January 15, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Reed