TOKYO (AP)—Roland Garros finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova grasped for an air tube during a medical timeout and grew frustrated at the lack of ice in a court-side container.
German player Mona Barthel struggled with 10 double faults in a loss to Iga Swiatek as a blinding sun made it nearly impossible to see the ball once she tossed it.
Heat and humidity quickly became a major issue when the Olympic tennis tournament opened Saturday. The temperature soared to 93 degrees F (34 degrees C) and the heat index made it feel more than 100 F (38 C).
"You're just not feeling great," Pavlyuchenkova said. "So I wasn't enjoying it at all."
Still, Pavlyuchenkova routed Sara Errani of Italy, 6-0, 6-1, while Swiatek—last year's Roland Garros champion from Poland—beat the 172nd-ranked Barthel, 6-2, 6-2, in the opening match on Center Court.
Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic's quest for Olympic gold is alive and well following a routine 6-2, 6-2 win over 139th-ranked Hugo Dellien of Bolivia.
The top-ranked Serb is attempting to become the first man to win all four major tennis tournaments and an Olympic singles gold medal in the same year.
"You feel constantly dehydrated," said Djokovic, who at least played later in the day when half of the court was in the shade. "There's no circulation of the air."
Midway through her second set, doubts started to creep into Pavlyuchenkova's head as she shoved bags of ice up her skirt on a changeover. Then she had trouble fiddling with a tube blowing cold air next to her seat.
"It's not easy to find the right position because it's just on the bench and somebody has to hold it so the air is blowing on you," the Russian said.