Australian Open: Sizzling heat leads to slow motion tennis at Melbourne Park

Melbourne Park has been a melting pot for tennis' elite.
Melbourne Park has been a melting pot for tennis' elite. Photo credit: Getty

By Dave Worsley

A subdued start to day five at the Australian Open with the heat seemingly slowing down results.

It took three long sets for Croatian Petra Martic to win over Luksika Kumkhum of Thailand in the first game on Rod Laver and both players were probably struggling to find the court as it would have been foreign territory for them.

Another name which was a winner and lacked the profile of the stars was Denisa Allertova. The Czech qualifier player winning in straight sets over her Polish opponent.

In the battle of the Ukrainians fourth seed Elina Svitolina waltzed through against 15-year-old qualifier Marta Kostyuk 6-2 6-2.

Svitolina, who has yet to prove her Grand Slam credentials despite her ranking, and refused to give her younger opponent any advice afterwards, saying that she was too new to the sport anyway.

This from a 23-year-old.

In a game full of emotion, mainly from Frenchwoman Alize Cornet , who was defeated in the middle of the hottest time of the day in Melbourne by Belgium’s Elise Mertens in straight sets.

In the men’s draw, 10th seed Pablo Carreno Busta, who excelled in last year’s US Open was able to complete his win over Gilles Muller.

His next opponent with be either 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic from Croatia or American Ryan Harrison.

Britain’s Kyle Edmund took over three and a half hours of punishing rallies to defeat Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili in his second round encounter.

While otherwise keeping long rallies to a minimum, Edmund won an epic 20-minute, 36-point game early in the fourth set which seemed likely to break the Georgian's spirit.

After falling behind 2-0, Basilashvili lost the next four games in quick fashion to allow Edmund to tie up the match at two sets apiece.

But Basilashvili came back to life in a tight decider as both combatants cooled themselves with ice towels at every changeover.

Third seed Grigor Dimitrov awaits the winner of Friday night's big match between Nick Kyrgios and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga after surviving a stern four-set test against Russian young gun Andrey Rublev.

Dimitrov looked shaky after dropping the second set before prevailing 6-3 4-6 6-4 6-4 in three hours, four minutes on Rod Laver Arena.