LONDON With everyone “feeling hot, hot, hot” at the All England Club on Wednesday it was little wonder that Novak Djokovic and Maria Sharapova were eager to escape the Wimbledon furnace as quickly as possible.

Spectators sitting under the blazing sun on Wimbledon’s Henman Hill were heard breaking out into the Buster Poindexter anthem that aptly summed up the hottest day of the year in Britain — with the mercury hitting 93 degrees Fahrenheit.

Champion Djokovic was spared the worst of the heat on the partly covered Centre Court as he kept things simple in a 90-minute 6-4 6-2 6-3 second-round demolition job that ended the Wimbledon career of seasoned Finn Jarkko Nieminen.

Fourth seed Sharapova survived the embarrassment of firing down three successive double faults to surrender her serve at 4-2 up in the first set. She turned on the heat to win the eight of the next nine games and subdue Dutchwoman Richel Hogenkamp 6-3 6-1.

Court Two also hosted the other half of tennis’s golden couple with Sharapova’s boyfriend Grigor Dimitrov, the 11th seed, outlasting American Steve Johnson 7-6(8) 6-2 7-6(2).

Fifth seed Kei Nishikori spared his battered body further punishment in the searing conditions after he pulled out of his second-round match against Santiago Giraldo with a calf strain.

“I was hurting too much,” said the man whose exit will be a huge blow back in his Japanese homeland.

Nishikori was not the only one needing medical attention on day three of the championships as a ballboy had to be wheeled off Court 17 after collapsing during American John Isner’s 6-2 7-6(8) 6-4 win over Australian Matthew Ebden.

Milos Raonic was kept on Court One longer than he would have liked by the oldest man in the singles draw.

At 37, Tommy Haas proved that his patched-up body still had the ability to fight it out with the best even when he is under heavy bombardment.

The German snatched the third set but Canadian seventh seed Raonic hurled down 29 aces, including one clocked at 145 miles per hour, to secure a 6-0 6-2 6-7(5) 7-6(4) victory.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

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Djokovic, Sharapova turn up heat as Wimbledon sizzles
| Reuters