Oppressive heat has marked the opening week of the Australian Open. The heat wave built across the region Monday, and temperatures soared to around 108 F (42 C) Tuesday through Friday, creating extreme conditions for both participants and spectators.
Relief from the sizzling temperatures was finally felt on Friday evening as a cold front moved through Victoria.
Friday marked the fourth day of extreme heat across the Melbourne area. This made it just the second such stretch in recorded history for Melbourne. The city had a five-day stretch of temperatures greater than 40 C in 1908.
The all-time record for Melbourne was Feb. 7, 2009, when the temperature climbed to 115.5 F (46.4 C).
Although two stadiums have retractable roofs, the heat has brought problems to spectators and players at the Australian Open, including a play suspension due to heat on Thursday. It was the first suspension since 2009, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
This nearly four-hour suspension of play followed torrid conditions Tuesday and Wednesday.
According to the Associated Press, a 10-minute break occurred after the second set in the match between No. 15-seeded Sabine Lisicki and Monica Niculesca on Tuesday.
Canadian Frank Dancevic collapsed during his match from heat-related illness on Tuesday. "It's hazardous to be out there. It's dangerous," Dancevic said, criticizing the tournament for not having suspended play. "Until somebody dies, they're just going to keep playing matches in this heat."
On Thursday evening, The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Victorian Emergency Services Minister Kim Wells said that 970 people had been treated for heat exhaustion.
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