Mind and body were both frazzled by the heat at Wimbledon yesterday, especially during Victoria Azarenka's tense three-set win over Nadia Petrova. Playing under the midday sun Azarenka boiled over while her Russian opponent had to be treated for heat exhaustion.
Petrova needed medical attention after the first set, which she lost on the tie-break, and, said Azarenka: "She looked pretty bad and I thought she was going to retire." Instead Petrova rallied well enough to take the second set 6-2 – helped, thought Azarenka, by some poor line calls.
The No 8 seed from Belarus told the umpire one line judge was "ruining the match" with her calls. At the end of the match, which Azarenka won after taking the third set 6-3, she shook the official's hand but did not apologise. "I feel bad about that," Azarenka said, "but I am an emotional player. It's not like sitting in the living room and watching TV. You're playing in 35C, it's hot, it's a close match, so it's tough.
"Sometimes I get a little bit upset with a few bad calls, which there clearly was today. Sometimes I play better when I am angry, but maybe need not to go crazy on my emotions when I'm pumped up."
Azarenka's dubious reward is a quarter-final against Serena Williams, who made short work of Daniela Hantuchova. "I'll have to play my best tennis," Azarenka said.
There was also some unladylike aggression as Caroline Wozniacki became the third seed, following Russians Svetlana Kuznetsova and Anna Chakvetadze, to go out to the teenager Sabine Lisicki. The pair appeared to collide while changing ends. "She all of a sudden went to the side I was passing all the time and we bumped, but it's no big deal to me," Lisicki said.
The 19-year-old, who looks the best player to have emerged from Germany since Anke Huber, and potentially the best since Steffi Graf, her idol, was two points from going out in the opening match. "I turned it around and after that I started to play better and to believe," she said.
Lisicki is in only her second season on grass but is learning fast and aided by a powerful serve. She will need that against Dinara Safina, who overcame Amélie Mauresmo in a lively three-set tie which did justice to the honour of being the first to play under the roof.
Mauresmo, returning to form after a lean period, took the first set 6-4 but the world No 1 levelled 6-3. The third set went with service until, with the match into its third hour, Safina broke in the ninth game then served out.
The unseeded Italian veteran (well, she is 29) Franceso Schiavone beat France's Virginie Razzano to set up a tie against Russian fourth seed Elena Dementieva, who thrashed her compatriot Elena Vesnina 6-1, 6-3. Melanie Oudin, the 17-year-old qualifier, put up a scrap before going out to Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4, 7-5. The Pole faces the so-far serene Venus Williams.Reuse content