LONDON (AFP) – Novak Djokovic shrugged off sweltering 30-degree heat to breeze past outclassed Adam Pavlasek 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 and reach the Wimbledon third round on Thursday (July 6).
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.
“It was a very warm day, it wasn’t easy to play point after point and some long rallies,” said Djokovic as his comfortable Wimbledon continued following a first round in which opponent Martin Klizan had retired hurt after just 40 minutes.
“But overall, from the very beginning I managed to impose my own rhythm and play the game I intended to play.
“I feel better as the days go by in Wimbledon. I’ve been in this particular situation before many times and I’ll try to use the experience to get myself in the right shape.”
Bernard Tomic may have been knocked out but the Australian was still making waves on Thursday when he was fined US$15,000 (S$20,000) after claiming he was “bored” during his lacklustre defeat to Mischa Zverev.
Tomic, who was accused of “unsportsmanlike behaviour” had also admitted he called for the trainer even though he was not injured to try to disrupt his opponent’s momentum.
Russia’s Daniil Medvedev was slapped with a US$14,500 fine after a series of disputes with umpire Mariana Alves during his five-set loss to Ruben Bemelmans in the second round.
Medvedev ended the match by throwing coins in the direction of umpire’s chair although he insisted the bizarre gesture was not meant to imply that the official was corrupt.
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.
Darcis needed a medical time-out on his injured groin before quitting one point later.
Eight men and one woman have now retired from their singles matches.
Bulgarian 13th seed Grigor Dimitrov was untroubled as the 2014 semi-finalist 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.
It’s the 28-year-old’s lowest ranking in 12 years.
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.
Czech third seed Karolina Pliskova hopes to make the last-32 for the first time, but she faces a tough test of her grass court credentials against Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia.
A former world number 31, Rybarikov missed seven months after undergoing knee and wrist injuries which saw her ranking slip to 453.
But she came into Wimbledon with two titles on grass at Surbiton and Ilkley.
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 world number 265th 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.