Djokovic rolls into third round
Novak has a ‘perfect’ Wimbledon match as he eases past Pavlasek
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