LONDON: Novak Djokovic brushed past France’s Adrian Mannarino 6-4 6-3 7-6(5) yesterday to book his place in the third round of Wimbledon. The defending champion, aiming for his third consecutive title, played well within himself and was rarely troubled during the second-round match.
Mannarino, ranked 55, put up spirited resistance in the third set to force a tiebreak but was ultimately swept off Centre Court by the Serbian’s laser-guided groundstrokes.
World number one Djokovic holds all four grand slam titles and has another historic mark in his sights. The 29-year-old is aiming to become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to achieve the calendar Grand Slam – winning the four majors in a single season.
Earler, with rain delaying play on the outside courts, Agnieszka Radwanska wasted no time in taking care of business under the roof on Centre Court.
The third-seeded Pole, who reached the final here in 2012, overwhelmed Kateryna Kozlova 6-2, 6-1 in just over an hour yesterday to move into the second round at the All England Club.
Radwanska used her clever all-court game to thoroughly dominate the 97th-ranked Ukrainian, who was making her main draw debut at Wimbledon and has never won a Grand Slam match. Radwanska won the first four games and was always in control.
“A one-hour match is always good, especially with that weather,” Radwanska said. “Now we’re playing every day, so I’m just very happy with that win and ready for the next one.”
The match was played in its entirety under the retractable roof, which was closed after steady rain lashed the grounds and forced delays on all other courts. “It’s like an indoor tournament, sometimes,” Radwanska said. “Have to kind of get used to that. Of course, it’s a little bit different without the sun, without the wind. So it’s a different game. But, well, it’s good that we could play today.”
Radwanska lost to Serena Williams in three sets in the 2012 final. The two are in the same half of the draw this year and could meet in the semifinals.
“(I’m) trying every year to do better and better, of course,” Radwanska said. “I was close a couple times. So it’s another year to try. And hopefully I can do one step (further).”
Next up on Centre Court was defending men’s champion Novak Djokovic, who faced Adrian Mannarino, a Frenchman playing on his 28th birthday. Djokovic was bidding to extend his Grand Slam match winning streak to 30, which would give him sole ownership of third place on the all-time list of most consecutive victories at the majors.
But all that seemed just a warm-up to the main event coming later in the day. Seven-time champion Roger Federer – perhaps the greatest player of all time – had a second-round match against Marcus Willis, a 772nd-ranked British qualifier who had never won a tour-level match until Monday.
Willis is the lowest-ranked qualifier to reach the second round of a Grand Slam since 1988. He gives tennis lessons at a club in central England and was only recently talked out of giving up on his goal of making it on the pro tour by his girlfriend.
Now, Willis gets to face Federer on the most famous court in tennis, with a large group of friends and family on hand to support him in a journey that has captivated the British public.
Before play was stopped by rain on the outside courts, three players managed to finish matches that had been suspended the previous day: 10th-seeded Tomas Berdych completed a 7-5, 7-5 (5), 5-7, 6-1, 7-6 (2) win over Ivan Dodig; Andrea Petkovic, seeded No. 32, beat Nao Hibino of Japan, 3-6, 7-5, 6-2; and Evgeniya Rodina downed Lesia Tsurenko 6-3, 7-5. – Agencies