Djokovic rolls into third round

No­vak has a ‘per­fect’ Wim­ble­don match as he eases past Pavlasek

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - REUTERS AND AP

NO­VAK Djokovic had to play all three sets at Wim­ble­don this time. The three-time cham­pion ad­vanced to the third round by beat­ing Adam Pavlasek 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 yes­ter­day, two days after his open­ing match ended early when his op­po­nent re­tired with an in­jury.

Djokovic won the Wim­ble­don ti­tle in 2011, ‘14 and ‘15. But he has not won a ma­jor ti­tle since com­plet­ing a ca­reer Grand Slam at the 2016 French Open.

In his open­ing two matches at the All Eng­land Club, Djokovic has only lost eight games.

“It’s per­fect. Ex­actly what I want,” Djokovic said. “I don’t want to have any five-set matches in there.”

Djokovic will next face Ernests Gul­bis. The un­seeded Lat­vian de­feated Juan Martin del Potro 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (7/3).

Grigor Dim­itrov, Gael Mon­fils and David Fer­rer also reached the third round. Fer­rer ad­vanced when op­po­nent Steve Dar­cis re­tired with an in­jury while trail­ing 3-0.

Dar­cis is the eighth man to re­tire dur­ing a match this week. The Bel­gian took a med­i­cal time­out after 18 min­utes of play and was un­able to con­tinue.

One of the favourites in the women’s tour­na­ment, third­seeded Karolina Plishkova, lost on Cen­tre Court. Mag­dalena Ry­barikova beat Plishkova 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 to reach the third round for the se­cond time in 10 ap­pear­ances.

Plishkova en­tered the tour­na­ment with a chance to take over the No. 1 rank­ing.

Two-time ma­jor cham­pion Svet­lana Kuznetsova, seeded sev­enth, ad­vanced to the third round along with ninth-seeded Ag­nieszka Rad­wan­ska and 24th-seeded CoCo Van­deweghe.

Also, Amer­i­can wild-card en­try Bethanie Mattek-Sands in­jured her right knee dur­ing a point and re­tired from her se­cond-round match.

Mov­ing up to­ward the net in the open­ing game of the third set against So­rana Cirstea of Ro­ma­nia, Mattek-Sands slipped and fell. She im­me­di­ately clutched her right knee. She could be heard scream­ing in pain and sob­bing.

Two play­ers pre­vi­ously elim­i­nated from the tour­na­ment were handed fines.

Bernard Tomic of Aus­tralia was fined $15 000 for un­sports­man­like con­duct two days after he spoke about feel­ing “a lit­tle bit bored out there” dur­ing his match.

Daniil Medvedev of Rus­sia, who threw a hand­ful coins in the di­rec­tion of the chair um­pire after a se­cond-round loss on Wed­nes­day, was given three fines to­tal­ing $14 500.

French­man Mon­fils halted the Bri­tish charge at Wim­ble­don with a straight-sets vic­tory over home hope Kyle Ed­mund.

On a sti­fling Cen­tre Court the 15th seed was pushed hard in the first set be­fore 50thranked Ed­mund wilted in the heat and Mon­fils moved through 7-6 (7/1), 6-4, 6-4.

Ed­mund’s fore­hand, rated as one of the hard­est in men’s ten­nis, was a con­stant men­ace to Mon­fils in the first set and the Bri­tish player had two break points in a titanic ninth game but could not con­vert ei­ther.

It proved a piv­otal mo­ment be­cause Mon­fils went on to pocket the tiebreak with ease as Ed­mund buck­led un­der the strain.

Ed­mund did man­age to break back hav­ing fallen be­hind in the se­cond set but Mon­fils al­ways had the ex­tra shot up his sleeve to wear down the 22-year-old.

Nine years to the day after lift­ing the boys ti­tle at Wim­ble­don, Dim­itrov moved ef­fort­lessly into the third round of the main draw amid signs that he could be ready to re­alise his enor­mous po­ten­tial.

The Bul­gar­ian, who swat­ted away Cypriot Mar­cos Bagh­datis 6-3, 6-2, 6-1, has long been thought of as a po­ten­tial grand slam win­ner.

Yet after beat­ing Wim­ble­don cham­pion Andy Mur­ray en route to the semi-fi­nals in 2014, his ca­reer has stalled.

That year he won three tour ti­tles and also reached the last eight at the Aus­tralian Open, flour­ish­ing an ex­quis­ite back­hand that had earned him the nick­name ‘Baby Fed­erer’, after the Swiss mae­stro.

Fol­low­ing that, how­ever, he went al­most three years with­out adding a tro­phy or stay­ing in a grand slam past the fourth round.

“I won Wim­ble­don nine years ago as a ju­nior. Well, my goal is to win Wim­ble­don now.”

EASY PICK­INGS: Ser­bia’s No­vak Djokovic cel­e­brates win­ning the se­cond round match against Czech Repub­lic’s Adam Pavlasek at Wim­ble­don yes­ter­day. PIC­TURE: REUTERS

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