Novak Djokovic back to dominant best as he chases seventh Wimbledon crown

Serb top seed destroys Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis in straight sets

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Top seed Novak Djokovic looked every inch the dominant player who has won the last three Wimbledon titles as he swept aside Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis on Wednesday to power into the third round of the championships.

The 35-year-old, bidding for his seventh Wimbledon title overall, had looked scratchy during his opening win against Kwon Soon-woo on Monday but he was back close to lofty standards against the 79th-ranked Kokkinakis, winning 6-1, 6-4, 6-2.

The Australian famously defeated Roger Federer in the second round of the Miami Masters in 2018 but there were no signs of another upset during the contest on Centre Court as the 20-time major champion dictated terms from the start.

After completing victory in exactly two hours, Djokovic said: “I’m happy with my performance today. A really high-quality performance.

“I must say I’m quite pleased with the way I’ve raised the level of tennis in two days.

“I thought I started off very well, very solid from the back of the court, made him work for every point that I managed to get his serve back in play.

“It was not easy to serve because of the wind, it was very swirly on the court, so tough to toss the ball. But I think from my side overall, a really high-quality performance and I'm very pleased.

“Hopefully I can keep that trajectory, just thinking about the next challenge and hope things will get better as the tournament goes on.”

For a place in the fourth round, Djokovic will meet compatriot Miomir Kecmanovic, who beat Chile's Alejandro Tabilo in four sets.

Frenchman Ugo Humbert forgot his rackets but definitely brought his A game as he recovered strongly from a shaky start to beat French Open runner-up Casper Ruud 3-6, 6-2, 7-5, 6-4.

It was a deserved win for the 24-year-old, who had lost in the first round at his six previous Grand Slam events, and as world No 112 was a big underdog against the Norwegian who lost to Rafa Nadal in the Roland Garros final three weeks ago.

Ruud was also the only one of the top eight men who came through the first round without dropping a set, though he did need two tiebreaks to get past Albert Ramos Vinolas.

He was the better player in the first set, with Humbert perhaps distracted by turning up on court without any rackets after the start was delayed for over 90 minutes by rain.

Humbert, however, quickly improved in the second set, breaking for a 3-1 lead and again to love en route to levelling the match and then taking control.

Humbert, who reached the last 16 at Wimbledon in 2019 and won the Halle grass event last year, will play Belgium's David Goffin in the third round. “I love to play on grass, I've played a lot of good matches,” he said. “I've had some big battles. It was a great match and a great atmosphere.”

Cameron Norrie survived a big scare to make it through to the third round with a 6-4, 3-6, 5-7, 6-0, 6-2 victory over Jaume Munar.

The friendly nature between the former doubles partners may have ended had the Spanish right-hander maintained his level throughout an exciting back and forth battle on Court One.

Ryan Peniston’s impressive summer on British soil is over after he lost in straight sets to American Steve Johnson.

Peniston reached the quarter-finals at Nottingham, Queen’s and Eastbourne but he lost 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 in the second round on his maiden grand slam appearance.

The 26-year-old from Southend was unable to produce the level that had seen him shine in recent weeks, with the big-serving American seeing it out with ease.

Updated: June 29, 2022, 5:22 PM
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