Djokovic in cruise mode

07-07-2017
DH

The three-time champion brushed aside the 136rd-ranked Czech on Court One to make the last-32 for the ninth year in succession.

Djokovic, the second seed whose shock third round loss to Sam Querrey at Wimbledon 12 months ago precipitated a worrying decline in form, will next face either Juan Martin del Potro or Ernests Gulbis.

Meanwhile, the injuries continued to pile up at Wimbledon when Belgium’s Steve Darcis, who famously knocked out Rafael Nadal four years ago, retired at 3-0 down to David Ferrer.

Bulgarian 13th seed Grigor Dimitrov was untroubled as the 2014 semifinalist breezed past Marcos Baghdatis 6-3, 6-2, 6- 1.

Later on Thursday, third-seeded Roger Federer continues his campaign for a record eighth Wimbledon title against world number 79 Dusan Lajovic.

Federer was on court for just 43 minutes in his opening match when opponent Alexandr Dolgopolov retired injured.

Serbian Davis Cup player Lajovic is bidding for a spot in the third round for the first time.

Del Potro, seeded 29, faces Gulbis in a battle of the two of the sport’s great unfulfilled talents out on Court Three.

Del Potro, a Wimbledon semi-finalist in 2013, was pushed to the brink of retirement last year after three wrist surgeries but surged back to help Argentina win a maiden Davis Cup title.

Gulbis made the top 10 in 2014 in the year he made the French Open semi-finals, beating Federer on the way.

The Latvian’s opening round win over Victor Estrella, was his first on tour in 13 months, a slump which has seen his ranking sink to 589. Their match was suspended for 25 minutes after a spectator collapsed in the stands, a consequence of the crushing 30-degree heat and humidity.

Women’s top seed Angelique Kerber, the runner-up to Serena Williams in 2016, tackles Belgium’s 88th-ranked Kirsten Flipkens, whose best performance at the majors came at Wimbledon in 2013 when she made the semi-finals.

In early women’s matches, former US and French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, seeded seven, took her career record over fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova to 7-1 with a 6 -0, 7-5 win. Kuznetsova next faces Slovenia’s Polona Hercog, who reached the third round at a Slam for the first time since 2010 with a 6-7 (2/7), 6-2, 6-2 win over Varvara Lepchenko of the United States.

US 24th seed Coco Vandeweghe eased past Germany’s Tatjana Malek 6-4, 6-2.

Wimbledon title favourite Karolina Pliskova crashed to a shock second round defeat against world number 108 Magdalena Rybarikova.

Rybarikova battled back from a set down to win 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 on Centre Court, earning the Slovakian a last 32 clash with Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko.

Pliskova reached the US Open last year and the French Open semifinals last month, but the Czech world number three has a dismal record at Wimbledon and for the sixth successive year she failed to get past the second round.

With defending champion Serena Williams sidelined while she prepares to give birth and world number one Angelique Kerber in poor form this year, Pliskova had been installed as a top contender to lift the Venus Rosewater Dish.

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