U.S. Open: Day Three

September 1, 2010

Victoria Azarenka of Belarus collapses on the court during her match against Gisela Dulko of Argentina during the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, September 1, 2010. Azarenka was unable to continue the match. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

By Helen Cook and Josh Hargreaves

Earlier in the day tournament talk swirled around the moment Victoria Azarenka collapsed in a heap on court under the searing sun at just 11:30 a.m., but the heat took a back seat in the evening matches when the best American hopeful in the men’s draw Andy Roddick stumbled to a bad-tempered second round exit.

Roddick, who was called for a foot-fault in the third set, went off on both the lineswomen and the chair umpire, with his best line being, “What is this, call 1-800-RENT-A-REF?”

He later apologized for his behavior, saying he was attempting to change the momentum of the match, and although his tactic didn’t work, that was a pretty good line.

Earlier Azarenka was taken off court in a wheelchair mid-match, the incident fueled the safety discussion surrounding the temperatures – which reached 32 degrees when Azarenka crumpled and on-court temperatures topped 37 degrees. But doctors say the heat was not the only reason for the frightening episode.

Former champ Pam Shriver summed up the heatwave during her coverage for TSN in New York: “Only the fittest will survive.”

Andy Roddick of the U.S. reacts to a point in the fourth set of his match against Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia during the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York September 1, 2010. REUTERS/Shannon StapletonTaken out by young gun Ryan Harrison, number 15 seed Ivan Ljubicic told reporters: “The weather was my biggest enemy today.”

The last thing tournament organizers wanted to see happen was Roddick being beaten so early, but maybe that will take some of the focus off of the searing heat.

More sweat dripped onto the melting courts and as always, the Venus fashion sense made it into the tournament chatter off-court. Fashion choices for round two seemed to get a thumbs up from fans. One tweeter commented: “Venus Williams’ dress is the most beautiful I’ve ever seen!!! Beautiful and awesome!!! Go Venus ! I want to see it more.”

For more tennis stories, check back here for all the latest updates at the Open.

What did you think of Roddick’s outburst? How are you coping with the heat in New York? Do you have any tips for the players?

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