Wimbledon Day 3: Heatwave Hits London, Americans Dominate, Nishikori Withdraws

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

LONDON – Day 3 at Wimbledon is the hottest day in the tournament’s history at 35C/95F. Officials prepped ice towels for the players and enforced the heat rule in place. But only women are allowed a break of 10 minutes between during the second and third sets.

Some called for a heat rule for both sexes, but the top stars did not mind the heat. After all, temperatures in Australia often to soar above 40C.

“It wasn’t as bad as I thought,” said Novak Djokovic, who won in straight sets. “People were talking about it and predicting really difficult conditions. But I didn’t find it as difficult as I thought it might be.”

Grigor Dimitrov, who defeated American Steve Johnson in straight sets, thought it would be worse, but considered it “a good weather day.” His girlfriend Maria Sharapova said the weather is “much warmer” in Long Boat Key, Florida, where she lives. John Isner also trains in Florida and he said it is worse there than Wednesday at Wimbledon.

While the tennis players and some of us tennis writers (I live in OKC) are used to extremely hot temperatures, ordinary Brits are not. Many flats (including the one I am renting) do not have air conditioning. That is how rare hot days are in the United Kingdom. A man collapsed on Court 2 yesterday and a ballboy on Court 17 collapsed today. Looking outside the windows of the press center, I notice spectators moving a lot slower. Luckily it will cool down tomorrow and remain semi-normal for the rest of the tournament.

Americans enjoyed Day 3! CoCo Vandeweghe defeated eleventh seed Karolina Pliskova in straight sets. After her, Isner defeated Matthew Ebden in straight sets to move to the third round, which is the farthest he has made it in Wimbledon. He will play ninth seed Marin Cilic. Dimitrov beat Johnson, but it was a great match. Johnson fought hard almost snatched the first set in the tiebreak. Madison Keys defeated Stefanie Voegele in three sets to advance to the second round. The ladies finished their match that was called Tuesday night due to darkness. Wild Card Denis Kudla moved on to the third round and will face Santiago Giraldo since Kei Nishikori withdrew due to a calf injury. Bethanie Mattek-Sands toppled seventh seed Ana Ivanovic. Sloane Stephens defeated fellow American Lauren Davis. Bethanie Mattek-Sands ousted seventh seed Ana Ivanovic in straight sets.

Top seed Novak Djokovic glided through with a victory over Jarkko Nieminen, who played extremely well for his last Wimbledon. Instead of celebrating, Djokovic hugged Nieminen after the match and walked off the court with him. He even joined in with the applause from the audience for his opponent.

The sportsmanship displayed in tennis seems a dying breed in other sports. In the past three days, the victors at Centre Court waited for their opponents so they could walk off court together. It is the little things in life. Could other sports follow their lead?

Anyway, Nishikori withdrew. You can read about that here. His withdrawal pushed up the Čilić /Berankis match to Centre Court. Holy cow what a match! The first set was all Čilić, but Berankis refused to submit even though he is ranked 90. He performed like a top-15 player, throwing off Čilič with a break in the tenth game. Čilič won the tiebreak in the third set, yet Berankis bounced back to capture the fourth set. With five gorgeous aces and a much needed break, Čilič survived to round three. Needless to say, Čilič is thrilled to move on:

Well, I would say that the match was very, very high quality match. I think Ricardas was playing extremely well. Even after I broke him in the first set, I think he was playing really, really good until the end of the match, and there was, of course, very difficult to find some openings.

I’m, you know, just really glad that I won and that the most positive things from today are that I was serving really, really well and, you know, I was staying mentally in the match.

I saved a couple of break points end of the fifth, and, you know, just I think nerves got to Ricardas at the end, and that, I think, decided a little bit.

Serena Williams defeated Timea Babos in under an hour to secure a spot in the third round. Her sister Venus also won in straight sets. If both win next round they will meet in the fourth round.

Tomorrow should be cool with a temperature of 25C/77F. Here is tomorrow’s schedule on Centre Court:

Christina McHale vs. Sabine Lisicki
Sam Querrey vs. Roger Federer
Dustin Brown vs. Rafael Nadal


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