Melbourne: Maria Sharapova survived the searing heat and an 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.
The temperature was forecast to spike at 44 Celsius (111) Thursday, on the third straight day of a heat wave. It was already 39C (102F) when 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. (Read: Play suspended due to heat)
Sharapova wasted three match points on serve at 5-4 in the third set, and then had to save break points and serve to stay in the match before getting the crucial break in the 17th game of the deciding set.