Maria Sharapova overcame Karin Knapp in the most dramatic match of the ongoing Australian Open to reach the third round as temperature exceeded 40C again in Melbourne.
The 2008 champion eventually saw off Italy’s Knapp 6-3 4-6 10-8 at Rod Laver Arena, while play on outside court had already been halted due to the extreme temperature- in line with the new Extreme Heat Policy (EHP).
Both players battled it out for three hours and 28 minutes and the hard-fought contest ended when Knapp erred on a backhand on Sharapova’s fourth match point.
27-year-old Sharapova will face France’s Alize Cornet in the third round.
The third seed must have said after the match that she felt numb to the heat, however, it was the determination of the had-fighting Knapp that caught the eyes of the spectators, who had to endure the same extreme condition.
After failing to capitalise on match point at 5-4- and squandering two early on-, the Russian eventually broke to lead 9-8 when Knapp pushed a backhand into the net in the decider.
After holding to win the contest in the next game, Sharapova and Knapp exchanged a warm handshake at the net.
The 26-year-old came up with heavy groundstrokes, moving her taller foe around and going after her returns. Knapp dictated play at times, but Sharapova’s experience saw her finish off first.
McHale (US) v Wozniacki (Den) 
Nadal (Spa)  v Kokkinakis (Aus)
Z-Strycova (Cze) v Azarenka (Blr) 
Murray (GB)  v Millot (Fra)
Svitolina (Ukr) beat Rogowska (Aus) 6-4 7-5
Tsonga (Fra)  beat Bellucci (Brz) 7-6 (8-6) 6-4 6-4
A Radwanska (Pol)  v Govortsova (Blr)
Kavcic (Slo) v Federer (Swi) 
Margaret Court Arena
Cornet (Fra)  beat Giorgi (Ita) 6-3 4-6 6-4
Stephens (US)  v Tomljanovic (Cro)
Sock (US) v Monfils (Fra) 
Paire (Fra)  v Kyrgios (Aus)