Scary scenes as Cornet breaks down in scorching heat

French star Alize Cornet has broken down in the blistering heat on day five at the Australian Open.

During her third round clash with Elise Mertens on Hisense Arena, Cornet could no longer take the heat, collapsing in the shade behind the baseline after appearing wobbly on her feet for a few points.

The temperature inside the venue was believed to be over 40 degrees Celsius at the time Cornet collapsed.

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Cornet struggles to recover after breaking down. Pic: Seven
Cornet struggles to recover after breaking down. Pic: Seven

Cornet was struggling on the scoreboard at the time too, down one set and quickly losing control of the second to her German opponent.

Luckily Cornet had good medical attention on the court, and the chair umpire was happy to allow her extended breaks between points.

Cornet is seen to by medical staff. Pic: Getty
Cornet is seen to by medical staff. Pic: Getty

She eventually lost the encounter in straight sets, going down 7-5 6-4.

There was a touching moment of sportsmanship between both athletes though, with a huge amount of respect shown in the post-match embrace.

The Frenchwoman later called for the extreme heat benchmarks to be lowered.

"The limit of not playing the matches is really high ... I think this limit should be a little bit lower," Cornet told reporters.

"Playing in those conditions is not nice for anyone ... for the players it's incredibly tough.

"I would never give up ... but you push your body so hard ... you almost feel like you're on the edge.

"We're high-level athletes capable of pushing the limits very far and sometimes too far, that's why I say that it could be dangerous."

The drama comes after Gael Monfils became distressed during his second-round loss to Novak Djokovic on Thursday.

The Australian Open's extreme heat policy can be enacted by the tournament referee when one of two triggers are reached - when the ambient temperature reaches 40C or when the wet bulb globe temperature (a measure of heat and humidity) passes 32.5C.

Organisers defended the decision to allow play to continue on Friday.

"We did come close to implementing the extreme heat policy today," tournament referee Wayne McKewen said.

"Although we did reach the 40.2C mark at 2.25 pm, the WBGT reading was 31.1.

"We had our weather experts from the Bureau of Meteorology regularly providing updates on the temperature and the timing of the forecast cool change."

Temperatures across Melbourne started to drop around 3pm when the change arrived.

Monfils tries to cool down. Pic: Getty
Monfils tries to cool down. Pic: Getty

with AAP