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Lawn Tennis: Doc called to check suffering Sharapova; TENNIS: AUSTRALIAN OPEN SPECIAL...

Byline: By Ted Tracey

MARIA SHARAPOVA was yesterday given emergency medical treatment after playing for almost three hours in the searing sun.

Sharapova complained of being delusional and suffering stomach cramps when she finally overcame France's Camille Pin 6-3 4-6 9-7 in Melbourne.

The Russian top seed admitted she had been in distress during the match because of the rising temperatures.

And when an announcement followed her match that due to the Extreme Heat Policy the roof would be closed on the Rod Laver Arena, Sharapova raised her hands, clapped and gave the thumbs-up sign.

She said: "I had to see the doctor right away because I didn't get a medical time-out.

"He had to examine me and had to make sure I drank a lot and rested.

"It's not humanly possible to play for three hours in that kind of heat.Our bodies were not made to do that.

"I was so delusional I couldn't think. I had stomach cramps but I did not think about retiring. I'm not a quitter. I'm not going to stop because of heat.

"It was really tough. It was hard to think about what you were going to do on court because you were just mentally trying to find a way to make the points shorter and trying to find a way to win."

Sharapova took the first set 6-3 with apparent ease but the rising temperature began to take its toll on her and she allowed Pin to come back to take the second set.

She stepped up her game in a bid to end the match as quickly as possible and swept 5-0 up in the deciding set.

But again Pin hit back. She also won five in a row to level and then served for the match at 7-6.

Sharapova looked like being sick as she recovered to close out the match.

Fourth-seed Kim Clijsters made short work of her match against Vasilisa Bardina under a closed roof in the Rod Laver Arena.

The Belgian spent just 44 minutes on centre court as she swept to a 6-0 6-0 win over the Russian.

Clijsters said her performance was a pleasing return to Melbourne Park, in what will be her last appearance at an Australian Open.

She said: "I felt lucky I was able to play on that court with the roof closed and get to play as well, otherwise it could have been a very long day here.

"I was just happy to get it over with. I felt very in the zone today. I was seeing the ball well."

Martina Hingis was also in dominant form as she wrapped up a straight-sets victory over Nathalie Dechy.

After taking the first set 6-0, the sixth seed quickly ensured her place in the second round, closing out the match 6-2 in the second set.

Rising Serbian star Ana Ivanovic also booked a second-round berth at the expense of American Vania King, winning 6-2 6-0.

And Australian Samantha Stosur was equally efficient in her opening match.

She sealed a 6-3 6-1 victory over Klar Zakopalova of the Czech Republic.

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SICKNESS: Maria Sharapova
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jan 17, 2007
Words:522
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