Novak Djokovic reacts to claim he requested afternoon match vs Monfils

Novak Djokovic reacts to claim he requested afternoon match vs Monfils

His second-round clash with the six-times Australian Open champion on Rod Laver Arena, just as on all the other courts, continued in furnace-like conditions as organisers decided it was not necessary to implement its heat rule.

Despite his straight-sets win, Federer was only able to convert three of his 11 break-point chances, and only one of six in the third set.

It's still very early in his return, but Djokovic is showing signs of returning to form and is quickly silencing those critics who say he isn't as effective in brutal conditions. "It's definitely a challenge".

"Just be smart. If you have to give up, you know, it's not a shame", he said.

"Sure, I'm happy I played at night time".

"I'm telling you, I was dying on the court for 40 minutes. Used to go to Dubai when it was 45 - 38 seems nearly OK".

AUSTRALIAN Open officials have been criticised for turning the tournament into a "perverse" debacle that goes against the spirit of tennis as unbearable conditions descended on Melbourne.

The five-time Grand Slam champion is set to play against Kerber, who won the Australian Open title in 2016.

In other matches, fourth-seeded Alexander Zverev overcame a midmatch lull to advance to the third round with a 6-1, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 win over fellow German Peter Gojowczyk.

No. 3-seeded Grigor Dimitrov beat No. 30 Andrey Rublev 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.

Still looking for a first major after two French Open final losses, top-ranked Simona Halep held off 2014 Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard 6-2, 6-2.

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Britain's Johanna Konta was shocked by world No.123 Bernarda Pera in the second round in Melbourne - losing 6-4, 7-5. Gael is one of the best athletes in our sport, maybe the best athlete, he gets a lot of balls back and has a big serve.

The torturous conditions were having a serious effect on both players, but particularly Monfils.

Wawrinka appeared lethargic and generally didn't threaten Sandgren, who had never beaten a top-10 player.

"I got super dizzy ..."

Djokovic, who won four of the five Australian titles between 2011 and '16 before his shocking second-round exit past year, extended his career head-to-head domination over Monfils to 15-0.

But both men were forced to battle through the blistering heat, with Djokovic eventually claiming a 4-6, 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 win.

Djokovic noticed Monfils was struggling.

President of Climate and Health Alliance and honorary senior fellow at the ANU's college of science, Dr Liz Hanna, said spectator and player safety should be taken more seriously at the event.

"I think it was too hot today and every time the bug come into the court they're dead", said Taiwan's Hsieh Su-wei after pulling off the shock of the tournament in ousting third seed Garbine Muguruza.

"But of course, I mean, these conditions are really, really tough, and there are some girls that don't handle it well".

He lost both five-setters that he played a year ago at the majors to Tomas Berdych at Wimbledon and to Juan Martin del Potro at the US Open. "It feels, from a player's perspective, that you're kind of always in a rush", he said.

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