By Steve Keating
NEWYORK (Reuters) – Jelena Ostapenko sweated out a 6-4 4-6 7-5 win over German Andrea Petkovic to reach the second round of the U.S. Open on Tuesday as the heat was turned up at Flushing Meadows.
With the thermometer pushing towards 100 Fahrenheit (38 Celsius) the pair battled for two hours and 18 minutes under a ferocious sun before the 10th seeded Latvian ended the marathon on her fourth match point, sending the few remaining spectators at the Louis Armstrong Stadium court scrambling to find shade.
“Today (it) was a very tough match. She (Petkovic) was fighting for every point until the end,” said Ostapenko, who will meet American Taylor Townsend in the second round. “It is very humid, very warm and the match was more than two hours.”
Petkovic, having failed to qualify in Cincinnati and New Haven ahead of the U.S. Open, arrived at Flushing Meadows well rested and the 30-year-old needed all her reserves on a sweltering day that is sure to test the fitness of every player across the sprawling Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
Ostapenko, the 2017 French Open champion, may have also benefited from an uninspiring build-up to the season’s final grand slam, crashing out in the first round at Montreal and Cincinnati to leave her fresh going into her opener.
(Editing by Ken Ferris)