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Australian Open ’14: Djokovic, Williams storm into third round, extreme heat halts play

Title favourites Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams shrugged off a second day of intense heat to reach the Australian Open third round Wednesday alongside China`s Li Na. Djokovic, watched by new coach Boris Becker, flew past against Argentina`s Leonardo Mayer 6-0, 6-4, 6-4, extending his Melbourne streak to 23 straight wins. With temperatures close to 40 Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) Williams also took the fast route with a 63-minute demolition of Serbia`s Vesna Dolonc."It was tough conditions out there. I think it keeps getting hotter. Every day is really hot," said the 17-time Grand Slam title-winner. Li, twice a finalist at Melbourne Park, subdued a challenge from Swiss teenager Belinda Bencic, touted as the new Martina Hingis, to make the third round for the fifth year in a row. Spanish third seed David Ferrer beat France`s Adrian Mannarino to progress alongside Tomas Berdych, the world number seven, who downed Kenny De Schepper. Ice packs and energy drinks remained in high demand after Canada`s Frank Dancevic fainted and China`s Peng Shuai vomited in extreme temperatures on Tuesday.After a tournament-record nine withdrawals in the first round, Croatia`s Ivan Dodig became the latest casualty when he pulled out with cramp in the fourth set of his match against Damir Dzumhur. MELTED IN MELBOURNE Scorching heat in Melbourne has wreaked havoc at this year's Australian Open with players fainting, puking and hallucinating in the first week of the competition. Temperatures soared to 42 degrees Celcius yesterday and many seasoned professionals simply could not cope. Organisers suspended play at the Australian Open Thursday as temperatures hit 42 Celsius (107.6 Fahrenheit) on a third day of extreme heat, throwing the Grand Slam tournament into chaos. Players were to complete their current sets before a suspension until at least 5:00pm (0600 GMT) on outside courts, they said, while the roofs were closed on the centre and second courts. "The Australian Open extreme heat policy has been implemented," said a statement. "The roof on Rod Laver Arena and Hisense Arena will be closed at the end of the set. Play will be suspended at the end of the set on all outside courts until further notice." The move, after two days of soaring temperatures and complaints from players, will bring severe disruption to Thursday's packed schedule of 32 singles matches plus doubles.Temperatures were forecast to reach 44 Celsius on Thursday, the hottest this week, and remain high on Friday before cooling sharply on Saturday. The tournament's opening days have been dominated by problems associated with the heat, with players falling dizzy, fainting and vomiting, and warnings of serious health problems.

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