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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Top Players Survive Sydney Tempest

ReutersRussia's Marat Safin holding his back during his second-round match on Wednesday.
SYDNEY, Australia -- Wild weather wreaked havoc on the Sydney International on Wednesday, leaving some of the top Australian Open hopefuls battling their way through stifling heat, gale-force winds and an electrical storm.

Most of the top players, including last year's Australian Open finalist Marat Safin, survived the scorching temperatures that soared as high as 45 degrees Celsius, but the storms that followed claimed some big-name victims.

World No. 10 Andy Roddick was sent packing 7-6, 7-5 by South Korean qualifier Lee Hyung-taik after the 100 kilometer-per-hour gusts turned their match into a farce.

Bulgaria's Magdaleena Maleeva, the women's eighth seed, also made an early exit after the weather turned foul, losing to Amanda Coetzer 6-4, 6-1.

"I've never played in anything like that," Roddick said.

"It was unbelievable. That was not a tennis match."

The storms were so severe that thousands of Sydney homes were blacked out, power lines were torn down and trees were uprooted.

Roddick asked chair umpire Denis Ovedrberg to postpone the match until the winds died down but his request was turned down.

"I said,'this really isn't tennis, I don't think it's fair to either one of us'," Roddick said.

"His answer to me was, 'They're playing on every other court.'

"I'm not going to beat myself up over it ... but it was disappointing because I would have liked another match or two preparation going into the Aussie Open."

Safin, playing just after noon, staged a mighty comeback in oppressive heat to beat Jarrko Nieminen 3-6, 6-1, 6-2.

The giant Russian said it was so hot on court he'd forgotten how to think but said the gruelling examination had shown he was in peak physical condition ahead of the Australian Open.

"That's one of the hottest days I've ever played. It was really difficult to play but it's great practice," said Safin, last year's Australian Open runner-up.

"It was really windy too so the conditions couldn't have been worse but if you can play in this kind of weather you can play anywhere."

French Open finalist Juan Carlos Ferrero and Belgian Fed Cup team mates Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin-Hardenne also survived the oven-like temperatures to safely make it through to the quarterfinals.

Ferrero hammered Russian Davis Cup winner Mikhail Youzhny 6-3, 6-2, Clijsters crushed Patty Schnyder 6-1, 6-3 and newlywed Henin-Hardenne saw off qualifier Janette Husarova.

Relegated to one of the back courts, where the westerly breezes kept the players a little cooler than on the center court, Ferrero played a near faultless match to win easily and get himself out of the sun as quickly as possible.

"It was very difficult to play when it's this hot but I thought I played a really good match," he said.

Clijsters, playing her first match after getting a bye through to the second round, was also in a hurry to find the shade as she disposed of Schnyder.

The Belgian has been in Australia since December staying and training with her boyfriend Lleyton Hewitt trying to improve her fitness and said the tough workout will do her good.

"My lungs felt like they were boiling," Clijsters said.