The Jerusalem Post
Djokovic glides past Anderson into 3rd round
Kyrgios wins shootout with Humbert • Serena hopes ended by injury, Federer survives scare
LONDON (Reuters) – Top seed Novak Djokovic clinically dispatched big-serving South African Kevin Anderson 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 on Wednesday to glide ominously into the Wimbledon third round.
Defending champion Djokovic, bidding for a sixth Wimbledon and record-equaling 20th Grand Slam title, was imperious during a grass-court masterclass on Centre Court.
In a repeat of the 2018 final, the Serbian broke Anderson’s serve once in each set and offered up only five unforced errors. His only minor concern were a couple of tumbles to the turf on the lush grass, but he remained unruffled.
Twice Grand Slam runner-up Anderson, who is battling back after knee problems, did not play a bad match but Djokovic was at his ruthless best as he won in an hour and 41 minutes.
“It was almost flawless today, I hope my coach agrees with that,” the 34-year-old said on court.
Few would disagree.
In other action, Australian maverick Nick Kyrgios marked his long-awaited return to action by completing a 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-1, 9-7 win over Ugo Humbert on Wednesday in match held over from the previous evening.
Play was suspended at 3-3 in the deciding set at 11 p.m. on Tuesday after 21st seed Humbert had led by two sets to one.
But Kyrgios, one of the biggest draws in the sport, showed great composure to finish the job on Court One and set up a second-round clash with Gianluca Mager.
“Not too bad for a part-timer,” the 26-year-old Kyrgios, playing his first match since losing in the third round of the Australian Open in February having
opted against travelling because of the pandemic, said on court.
“It didn’t take much to get me off my couch when I heard there would be crowds here because I love Wimbledon.”
The see-sawing action of the previous evening had taken place under lights and the Court One roof.
But the match resumed in open air with the first eight games all going with serve.
There was an anxious moment for the Australian when he slipped trying to change direction and fell awkwardly and briefly looked in pain, holding his hip.
But he picked himself up and it was Frenchman Humbert, winner of the grasscourt title in Halle this month, who blinked first when he played a poor service game at 7-7 to hand Kyrgios the chance he had been waiting for.
Kyrgios went 15-40 down on serve but showed his steel to claw back the deficit and claimed victory with a sliding serve down the middle.
On the women’s side, world No. 5 Elina Svitolina was made to work hard in a tight first-round match as the Ukrainian sealed a 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 victory over unseeded Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck.
The pair traded breaks at the start of
their second career meeting before Svitolina gained the upper hand following a tight game to go 4-2 up and the third seed held off a late fight-back to claim the first set.
The aggressive Van Uytvanck mixed up her shots, with rifled drives and delicate drops, and took every chance to approach the net to break Svitolina for a 3-1 lead in the second set before levelling the match at one set apiece.
Both players wobbled on serve before 2019 semifinalist Svitolina rediscovered her rhythm in the decider on Court One to close out the victory with a forehand winner.
“The return was quite good for me today. I was striking the ball really good. On important moments, I was calm and my shots were quite good in the end,” Svitolina, who converted six out of 11 break point opportunities, told reporters.
There was little to separate the two with Svitolina sending down 34 winners – one more than Van Uytvanck – and both making 27 unforced errors.
“I’m just happy the way I was tracking the ball and that I could hold my nerve. This was very important for me today,” Svitolina added.
Bianca Andreescu could not help but burst out laughing when a spectacular mis-hit lob from Alize Cornet clipped the corner of the baseline to condemn the Canadian fifth seed to yet another firstround exit at Wimbledon.
Andreescu might have been the first teenager in 15 years to conquer a Grand Slam when she unexpectedly triumphed at the US Open in 2019 but when it comes to Wimbledon, she has yet to find her grass-court feet as both her appearances at the All England Club have ended in first-round exits.
At least in 2017 Andreescu had managed to slip out of the vast landscaped grounds without really being noticed as she had made it into the main draw as a rather anonymous qualifier.
On Wednesday, however, her 6-2, 6-1 walloping by French nemesis Cornet meant she became the highest women’s seed to perish at the major.
Late Tuesday night, seven-time champion Serena Williams’ hopes of claiming a record-equaling 24th Grand Slam singles title at Wimbledon ended in tears as the American quit with an injury early in her first-round match against unseeded Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich.
The 39-year-old needed treatment off the court when leading 3-2 in the first set and was clearly in distress on her return before being forced to retire at 3-3.
Her misfortune added to an already dramatic second day in which men’s eighttime winner Roger Federer looked set for his first opening-round exit at a Grand Slam since 2003 when he found himself outplayed by Frenchman Adrian Mannarino.
The Swiss trailed by two sets to one but Mannarino slipped on the greasy Centre Court turf and although he soldiered on to lose the fourth set he could not continue.
The match was poised at 6-4, 6-7(3), 3-6, 6-2 with Federer forcing a fifth set before Mannarino, celebrating his 33rd birthday, decided he could not continue.
“It’s awful,” Federer said. “It shows that one shot can change the outcome of a match, a season, a career. I wish him all the best and I hope he recovers quickly so we see him back on the courts.
“He could have won the match at the end. Obviously, he was the better player, so I definitely got a bit lucky.”