28 Jan 2009

Defending champion wilts in Melbourne heat

5:56 am on 28 January 2009

Melbourne's heatwave claimed the defending men's champion as its latest victim at the Australian Tennis Open, but sympathy was in short supply for Novak Djokovic after he surrendered his title to the American Andy Roddick.

The 21 year old old Serb threw in the towel when he was trailing two sets to one and down 2-1 in the fourth, claiming his body had had enough. But Roger Federer says Roddick had pushed the defending champion to the limit, and it's the third time Djokavic has retired in the latter stages of a grand slam tournament.

And Federer and Roddick have called for a review of the rule allowing players to take medical timeouts for cramp, to stop it being abused.

Meanwhile the Swiss star blasted his way into the semi-finals with a 6-3 6-0 6-0 win over the young Argentine Juan Martin del Potro.

40 degree temperatures are forecast for the next four days in Melbourne.