Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Laboring in the Open Heat

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Laboring in the Open Heat

Article excerpt

NEW YORK -- Eugenie Bouchard walked unsteadily toward her seat at Louis Armstrong Stadium. Before she could even lower herself into it, a trainer was there to meet her.

For the first week of the U.S. Open, the 20-year-old Canadian had become a crowd favorite in Flushing Meadows. But now there was only silence.

A ball girl draped a bag of ice over Bouchard's shoulders. Someone else handed her a sports drink and took her blood pressure. More ice, wrapped in towels, was brought out and rubbed on Bouchard's arms and legs.

It didn't help enough.

Bouchard, the seventh seed, fell to No. 17 Ekaterina Makarova, 7- 6 (2), 6-4, in the fourth round Monday.

"They think the heat got to me a little bit," Bouchard said.

She wasn't alone.

Bouchard's departure was the biggest upset at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on this day, where players had to contend with the pressure of a Grand Slam and brutal conditions; temperatures skyrocketed to near 90 degrees with high humidity levels and little cloud cover.

On the men's side of the draw, top-seeded Novak Djokovic and No. 8 Andy Murray both advanced in straight sets, setting up a high- profile quarterfinal match later this week.

But both had their own separate issues dealing with the weather.

"Everybody is different," said Djokovic, who beat Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber, 6-1, 7-5, 6-4. "But I tired to focus on each point individually, because I know that I definitely wanted to stay not too long out there."

Murray, who defeated ninth-seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 7- 5, 7-5, 6-4, had struggled with the heat and humidity earlier in the Open. So he worked diligently to hydrate properly before and during the match.

But by the middle of the second set, he was in obvious physical discomfort.

"I think I had a slight issue with my stomach," said Murray. "I maybe went a bit overboard with how much I was drinking at a few of the change of ends. ... Then, after I went to the toilet at the end of the second set, I felt better. …

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