Angelique Kerber brushed off scorching temperatures and an early wobble to beat Russia's Margarita Gasparyan and reach the second round of the US Open. Alexander Zverev also impressed with a straight-sets win of his own.
Angelique Kerber was the second of three German players slated for the Louis Armstrong Stadium on Day 2 of the Open and, after watching compatriot Andrea Petkovic fall to 2017 French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko, she strode to the baseline with the mercury touching 35 degrees Celcius (95 degrees Fahrenheit).
The reigning Wimbledon champion started well, registering an early break before allowing Gasparyan to break shortly after. The Russian, ranked 370 in the world thanks largely to injury, clung on to take the opener to a tiebreak but Kerber's big match experience showed as she took it out 7-5.
As fans and player alike seemed to wilt in the heat and humidity, Kerber stepped it up a gear to take the second set 6-3 and set up a clash with Sweden's Johanna Larsson for a place in the last 32.
"It was not easy today, it was so hot," said Kerber in the courtside interview after the win. "I'm happy to get through, I just wanted to play point by point and not think too much. Despite the conditions it was good match and both of us were at a high level. "
Zverev gets it done quickly
The heat was so brutal on Tuesday afternoon at Flushing Meadows that tournament officials added a 10-minute break between the third and fourth set of the men's best-of-five singles matches.
But Germany's main hope in the men's draw, Alexander Zverev didn't require any such respite, after wrapping up a straightforward 6-2, 6-1, 6-2 win over Canadian Peter Polansky in the third of the German-featuring-duels on the show court on Tuesday.
The talented 21-year-old from Hamburg never gave his opponent a sniff, at one point winning 10 out of 11 games to get back out of the heat in just 95 minutes.
"The conditions are tough, it's never easy," he said, echoing Kerber. "There have been lots of retirements in the last two days because of the heat. It's not like other sports where there is an indoor arena or a time limit."
Novak Djokovic struggled slightly more with the temperatures and said he said he felt sick during a changeover in his match, while four players quit playing during their matches. Despite his problems, the Serbian came through 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 6-0 against Marton Fucsovics to stay on course for a last eight meeting with Roger Federer.
mp/pfd (dpa, AP)