Sydney heatwave causes chaos at sporting events


Scorching temperatures in Sydney have wreaked havoc on sporting events at Olympic Park and the SCG.

Sydney's heatwave claimed its first scalp in the opening match of the Sydney International tennis, with fifth seed Kristina Mladenovic retiring during her match with Australian wildcard Ellen Perez.

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With play starting an hour earlier than previously scheduled, the mercury soared to 39.1 degrees at 10.30am on Sunday, forcing tournament officials to activate their heat policy just half an hour into the opening day.

Players on the outside courts at Homebush were offered up to 15-minute breaks between the second and third sets, however it is believed no matches were suspended.

Mladenovic felt the heat big time. Image: Getty

Temperatures hit a high of 44.5 degrees just after 1pm, and not long after Mladenovic pulled the plug on her match with the world No.343 Perez.

Mladenovic, who had been treated a handful of times by trainers during the match, was trailing 6-4 4-2 when she succumbed to the conditions on Ken Rosewall Arena.

The 22-year-old Perez, who was appearing in just her second ATP tournament, said she embraced the challenge of playing in stifling heat.

"It was definitely hot. I'm not going to lie. I do enjoy the heat and I definitely think it was getting to me a little bit but maybe not as much as she felt it, but it was hot out there," Perez said.

"I didn't notice at the start until she called the trainer out in the first set and obviously it was kind of prominent in the second set, so I knew I had to get a good start and keep it going.

"I just tried to stay switched on. I knew I had to get a good start and get that lead and keep the pressure on. It's a harder battle if you are losing and you don't feel too well.

"So I knew I had to get that game or two up."

Across town at the Sydney Cricket Ground, England wilted in the field as Australia batted and batted as the mercury hit 41.1C.

Temperatures reached 40 degrees by lunch, and an extra drinks break was scheduled for each session to deal with the heat.

Heat monitors at the SCG reported a 'feels like' temperature of 57.6C. Bureau of Meteorology records suggest there hasn't been such a hot day of Ashes cricket in Australia since a 43.1C heatwave struck Adelaide some 110 years ago.

England have endured plenty of taxing sessions this summer but none compare to the punishment they copped during Sydney's heatwave.

The Poms were forced to bake in the sunshine for some 193 overs, the longest Ashes innings from either side since 1993.

Debutant Mason Crane struggles. Image: Getty

Australia haven't batted for so long in a Test dig since 1997, when Steve Waugh and Greg Blewett helped the tourists frustrate South Africa for 193.4 overs in Johannesburg.

England have now delivered more than 1000 overs this series, while Jimmy Anderson has bowled 223.3 overs in the series.

And spare a thought for Aussie batsman Shaun Marsh, who has two roasted arms to show for his highest Ashes Test score after he spent the best part of seven hours in the Sydney sun.

"Shaun will probably kill me for saying this, he has a batting superstition of not wearing sunscreen when batting," Marsh's wife Bec revealed to the Nine Network on Sunday.

"He came home yesterday with bright red arms."