Cool Djokovic cruises in the Wimbledon heat
Former world No 1 from Serbia breezes through to the third round, where he will now meet unseeded Latvian Gulbis for a place in the last 16
Three-time champion Novak Djokovic reached the Wimbledon third round for the ninth successive year with a 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 win over Adam Pavlasek of the Czech Republic on Thursday.
Second seed Djokovic will face Ernests Gulbis on Saturday for a place in the last 16. Gulbis defeated Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3).
“It was the first match this year on Court One. It plays a little bit different from Centre Court, with all the construction,” Djokovic said after the second round encounter.
“It was a very warm day, it wasn’t easy to play point after point and some long rallies. In the second set, we had long games.
“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 have been in this particular situation before many times and I will try to use the experience, knowing what to do on a daily basis, to get myself in the right shape, right state of mind and hopefully the right performance.”
Meanwhile, Gulbis is through to the third round at Wimbledon as an unseeded player. The Latvian reached the fourth round at the French Open in 2016, but didn’t win another tour-level match until on Tuesday in the first round at the All England Club.
The only other time he reached the third round at Wimbledon was in 2013. He reached the semifinals at the French Open in 2014.
Against del Potro, Gulbis had 25 aces and was only broken once. He had twice as many winners as his opponent, outnumbering del Potro 60-30.
World number 136 Pavlasek was hoping to upset his childhood idol and record his best Grand Slam result by reaching the third round.
“I didn’t know much about him. I tried to get as much information as I could in the last 48 hours. It was a big occasion for him,” said Djokovic, 30.
“I’m sure he can play better than he did today but from my side it was all working well.”
Djokovic recorded his 234th grand slam match win in the opening round, taking sole occupancy of second place on the all-time list for most match wins at the four majors ahead of Jimmy Connors on 233.
In Tuesday’s first round match, his opponent Martin Klizan pulled out after 40 minutes on Centre Court due to a calf problem.
Earlier, Del Potro’s clash with Gulbis was held up by 25 minutes after a spectator was taken ill in the stands on Thursday.
With searing temperatures hitting 30 degrees Celsius on Court Three, a woman appeared to suffer the effects of prolonged exposure to the sun midway through the second set.
Spectators held umbrellas over the woman while ambulance staff came to treat her before a stretcher eventually arrived.
Former US Open champion Del Potro passed a water bottle into the crowd to be given to the woman while he and Gulbis waited for play to resume.
“They’re waiting for the stretcher. They need to remove the lady and the paramedics are assessing the situation. Hopefully the lady’s going to be ok as well,” the umpire told the crowd.
Argentine 29th seed Del Potro, a former Wimbledon semi-finalist, had lost the first set 6-4 against Gulbis and was trailing 3-2 in the second before the delay.