LONDON, July 7: Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic had to play all three sets at Wimbledon this time.
The former champions both advanced to the third round yesterday, two days after their opening matches ended early when their opponents retired with an injury.
Federer was broken early in his match, but the seven-time champion recovered quickly and beat Dusan Lajovic 7-6 (0), 6-3, 6-2. Djokovic, a three-time champion, defeated Adam Pavlasek 6-2, 6-2, 6-1.
Djokovic won the Wimbledon title in 2011, ‘14 and ‘15, but has not won a major title since completing a career Grand Slam at the 2016 French Open. In his opening two matches at the All England Club, Djokovic has only lost eight games.
“It’s perfect. Exactly what I want,” Djokovic said. “I don’t want to have any five-set matches in there.”
Djokovic will next face Ernests Gulbis. The unseeded Latvian defeated Juan Martin del Potro 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (3).
Federer has lost 14 games so far and will next face 27th-seeded Mischa Zverev.
Milos Raonic, Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev, Grigor Dimitrov, Gael Monfils and David Ferrer also reached the third round. Ferrer advanced when opponent Steve Darcis retired with an injury while trailing 3-0. Darcis is the eighth man to retire during a match this week. The Belgian took a medical timeout after 18 minutes of play and was unable to continue.
One of the favorites in the women’s tournament, third-seeded Karolina Pliskova, lost on Centre Court. Magdalena Rybarikova beat Pliskova 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 to reach the third round for the second time in 10 appearances.
Pliskova entered the tournament with a chance to take over the world No. 1 ranking.
“My expectations were a little bit different than to make one round here,” Pliskova said. “That’s tennis, you know. Still, you still can play well and you don’t have to win. That’s my case today.”
Top-seeded Angelique Kerber also advanced to the third round, along with seventh-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova, ninth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska, 14th-seeded Garbine Muguruza and 24th-seeded CoCo Vandeweghe.
Also, American wild-card entry Bethanie Mattek-Sands injured her right knee during a point and retired from her second-round match.
Moving up toward the net in the opening game of the third set against Sorana Cirstea of Romania, Mattek-Sands slipped and fell. She immediately clutched her knee and, down on the turf, wailed loudly, imploring for someone to “Help me! Help me!”
Mattek-Sands, a 32-year-old American, came to Wimbledon eyeing a fourth consecutive Grand Slam doubles title.
The extent of Mattek-Sands’ injury, which came in the third set’s opening game, was not immediately known. But word quickly spread, generating concern among players. She’s popular on tour, known for her gregarious personality, loud laugh and original fashion choices, including the stars-and-stripes knee-high socks she wore while teaming with Jack Sock to win a mixed-doubles gold medal for the U.S. at last year’s Rio Olympics.
She’s also quite a doubles player, ranked No. 1 right now after teaming with Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic to win the past three major championships and a total of five.-AP