Novak Djokovic has been out of sorts for most of 2017, but the Serb advanced to the third round of the Wimbledon men’s singles with zero fuss on Thursday, dispatching opponent Adam Pavlasek in straight sets 6-2 6-2 6-1 on Court No. 1.
On another blisteringly hot day at the All England Lawn Tennis Club — temperatures nudged 31°C — Djokovic powered past his Czech opponent, ranked 136th in the world, in a little over 90 minutes.
“Overall I managed to impose my own rhythm and play the game I intended to play — it was very warm and hot and not easy to play point after point in some of the long rallies,” Djokovic told the BBC following his victory as he joined the likes of Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal in round three.
Roger Federer — the other member of tennis’ “Big Four” — was due to play later Thursday. Federer’s Swiss compatriot Stan Wawrinka — the only player to seriously threaten to upset tennis’ established order in recent years — was knocked out in the first round.
Djokovic, who is seeking a fourth Wimbledon title this year, will face Ernests Gulbis after the Latvian beat 29th seed Juan Martin del Potro, also in straight sets, 6-4 6-4 7-6.
Gael Monfils is also through to the third round after downing Britain’s Kyle Edmond 7-6 6-4 6-4. Now comes the hard part for the Frenchman — getting into the fourth round.
A semifinalist at the French and US Opens, Monfils has always struggled on the grass at SW19, reaching the third round on five previous occasions before tumbling out.
“I’m a good tennis player but I’ve never (performed that well) on grass,” Monfils said. “It’s tough, it’s a different mentality to play on grass, different movement.”
The Frenchman will play compatriot Adrian Mannarino on Saturday for a place in the last 16.
In the women’s singles draw, there were distressing scenes on Court No. 17 as Bethanie Mattek Sands retired after suffering a nasty fall in the first game of the third set in her second-round match with Romania’s Sorana Cirstea.
The American was advancing to the net when she fell to the ground clutching her right knee and screamed for help.
After being treated on court by paramedics, she left on stretcher before being taken to hospital for further assessment.
Cirstea advances to the third round where she will meet 14th seed Garbine Muguruza who beat Belgium’s Yanina Wickmayer 6-2 6-4.
Elsewhere, there were wins for ninth seed, Agnieszka Radwańska who came from a set down to beat American Christina McHale 5-7 7-6 6-3.
Seventh seed Svetlana Kuznetsova is also through to the last 32 after a straight sets (6-0 7-5) win against fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova.