Russian world number three Dinara Safina had a blast of what might confront her in next week's Australian Open as she battled fierce heat to reach the semi-finals of the Sydney International on Wednesday.
Safina reached the semi-finals of the Sydney WTA tournament for the first time in wearing down tenacious French opponent Alize Cornet, 6-3, 6-4.
The score belied the on-court battle with Safina taking 1hr 48 min to subdue 18-year-old Cornet in air temperatures hovering around 36 Celsius.
Safina will play Japan's world number 29 Ai Sugiyama in Thursday's semi-finals after Sugiyama had a walkover when quarter-final opponent Svetlana Kuznetsova cried off with an abdominal strain.
Russian third seed Elena Dementieva slogged it out for 2hr 43min before dousing Polish sixth seed Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 and will face either top seed Serena Williams or Denmark's eighth seed Caroline Wozniacki in the other semi.
Safina, like the majority of the overseas competitors, is hitting the height of an Australian summer after preparing in a freezing mid-winter Europe and she felt the effects of the sapping heat.
"Obviously, you cannot prepare in Europe with the same conditions as the sun," she said. "I'm just trying to get as fit as I can. I was running a lot to get fitter, and that's all. Basically, there's not much you can do.
"It's now just a matter of getting used to the weather, because the body is ready.