US Open 2015

Tennis: Federer turns up the heat after retirements reach record 12

Jack Sock (centre), being treated by trainer Hugo Gravil (left) and a tournament official for heat exhaustion, was leading Ruben Bemelmans when he started cramping.
Jack Sock (centre), being treated by trainer Hugo Gravil (left) and a tournament official for heat exhaustion, was leading Ruben Bemelmans when he started cramping.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE- PRESSE

He slams players - 14 so far - who retire due to hot conditions for not being well-prepared

NEW YORK • Roger Federer says there are no excuses for players wilting in the US Open heat after the number of retirements from the men reached a Grand Slam record 12. After 10 men quit in the first round, Jack Sock of the United States and Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin quit on Thursday.

Despite temperatures rocketing to over 30 deg C over the first four days, in harness with crushing levels of humidity at Flushing Meadows, Federer offered no sympathy.

"We've been here in North America for some time. It's not like, all of a sudden, hot. I mean, it was more on the warmer side but it's not like impossible, to be quite honest.

"Really no excuse for that," said the 34-year-old who steamrolled Steve Darcis of Belgium 6-1, 6-2, 6-1 to reach the third round.

"I think everybody should be well-prepared. I know we don't play many best-of-five-set matches all the time so, of course, the body can react funny once you exceed the 21/2 to 31/2 hours of play.

NO EXCUSE FOR PULL-OUT

I think everybody should be well-prepared...

I think other players should be so fit that heat really shouldn't matter at that point.''

ROGER FEDERER, 17-time Grand Slam champion

"But I think other players should be so fit that heat really shouldn't matter at that point, the ones we've been playing in."

Sock was leading Belgium's Ruben Bemelmans 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 1-2 when he started cramping and was forced to retire.

The 28th seed collapsed on court where he was treated with ice packs and cold towels by medical staff. He was carried off to the shade of the Grandstand Court.

Just hours later, Istomin also called it quits against Austrian 20th seed Dominic Thiem, who was 6-4, 6-4, 1-0 up at the time.

Two women also retired in the first round, taking the total for this year's US Open to 14.

However, Thursday's elements did not stop Australian-born Briton Johanna Konta from battling through the longest women's match in US Open history.

The 24-year-old qualifier outlasted Wimbledon runner-up and ninth seed Garbine Muguruza from Spain 7-6 (7-4), 6-7 (4-7), 6-2 in 3hr 23min.

The second-round match lasted seven minutes longer than the old mark set in 2011 when Samantha Stosur defeated Nadia Petrova on her way to winning the title.

Said Konta, the world No. 97 : "I'm very tired but it's a good tired because it shows that I left everything out there."

Her fellow Briton Andy Murray also survived a match that went the distance. The third seed needed another of his trademark stirring fightbacks to power past Frenchman Adrian Mannarino after dropping the first two sets of their second- round encounter.

Murray, who looked befuddled early on, recovered to beat the left-hander 5-7, 4-6, 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 as he overcame a two-set deficit to record victory for the eighth time in his career.

The world No. 3 finished off the extreme turnaround with his 21st ace to end the 3hr 17min match.

The crafty Mannarino, ranked 35th despite having no ATP Tour titles to his credit, seemed to put Murray in a daze early on with a shifting variety of groundstrokes, drop shots and volleys at the net.

"I'm proud of the way I fought," Murray, who was suffering from a head cold, told reporters. "It was not an easy match to come through at all. He was making it extremely difficult for me."

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 05, 2015, with the headline 'Federer turns up the heat'. Print Edition | Subscribe