Djokovic into Wimbledon Round 3 for 11th year in row

Novak Djokovic (Getty)
Novak Djokovic (Getty)

London - Four-time champion Novak Djokovic reached the Wimbledon third round for the 11th successive year on Wednesday while 15-year-old Cori Gauff aimed to write another episode in her history-making All England Club debut.

Top seed Djokovic hit 13 aces and 37 winners as he eased past Denis Kudla of the United States, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.

"I'm pleased with my game overall. There were some moments in the match where maybe I could have done better," said the defending champion.

"But overall, a solid performance. I was returning well, I was serving mostly well. I'm really glad to overcome the challenge."

Djokovic goes on to face Hubert Hurkacz for a place in the last 16 having defeated the Pole in straight sets in the first round at Roland Garros in May.

Victory in that match could see him face 18-year-old Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime, the youngest man in the draw.

The 19th seed saw off French qualifier Corentin Moutet 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 to make the third round of a Slam for the first time.

Last year's beaten finalist Kevin Anderson, the South African fourth seed, also progressed with a 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 6-1, 6-4 victory over Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia.

Later Wednesday, Cori Gauff, just 15 years old and who was the sensation of the first round when she stunned five-time champion Venus Williams, tackles She faces 30-year-old Magdalena Rybarikova who made the semi-finals in 2017.

Gauff was already the youngest player to qualify for Wimbledon last week while also completing her high school studies.

Three-time major winner Stan Wawrinka fell in five sets to 6ft 11in (2.1m) Reilly Opelka.

Two-time quarter-finalist Wawrinka, 34, was beaten 7-5, 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 8-6 by his American opponent, the tallest man in the sport and 13 years his junior.

Opelka fired 23 aces and 59 winners and goes on to face 2016 runner-up Milos Raonic of Canada.

Opelka will be appearing in the third round at a Slam for the first time having never won a grass court match in his career prior to coming to Wimbledon.

Wawrinka won heartfelt applause for giving a line judge a warm embrace after accidentally colliding with her as he sprinted to hit a backhand.

"I was a bit too far to return a serve. I think I went against her, so I was sure she had some pain and was not happy, so I gave her a little hug," said the genial Swiss.

Also feeling the pain was Russia's Margarita Gasparyan who was forced to retire when just two points from victory against Ukraine eighth seed Elina Svitolina.

World number 62 Gasparyan was 7-5, 5-4 ahead when she collapsed to the ground on Court Three, suffering with cramping.

Although she bravely tried to continue, the Russian, who has undergone three knee surgeries in her career, was forced to quit.

"I was a little bit shocked, it's never nice to get this when someone is injured like that," said Svitolina who goes on to face Greece's Maria Sakkari for a place in the last 16.

"It's really unfortunate for her."

Spanish veteran Fernando Verdasco staged the comeback of the day when he recovered from two sets and 3-0 down to defeat British number one Kyle Edmund 4-6, 4-6, 7-6 (7/3), 6-3, 6-4.

Czech third seed Karolina Pliskova reached the last 32 with a 6-0, 6-4 win over Puerto Rico's Olympic champion Monica Puig.

Pliskova, one of four players who could end Wimbledon as world number one, will face Hsieh Su-wei of Taiwan for a spot in the fourth round.

In a match which opened proceedings on Centre Court, 52nd-ranked Puig was clearly over-awed, winning just nine points in a 20-minute first set.

Former world number one and double Australian Open winner Victoria Azarenka swept past Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic 6-2, 6-0.

Azarenka, now at 40 in the world, was a semi-finalist at the All England Club in 2011 and 2012.

Next up is a last-32 clash with fellow ex-world number one Simona Halep who defeated fellow Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-3, 4-6, 6-2.

"We have had very tough matches in the past," said Halep, who is 2-2 in career meetings with the 29-year-old Azarenka.

One of those wins came at Wimbledon in 2017 in the fourth round while it's been seven years since Azarenka beat Halep.

Wimbledon results on Wednesday (x denotes seeding):

Men

2nd round

Hubert Hurkacz (POL) bt Leonardo Mayer (ARG) 6-7 (4/7), 6-1, 7-6 (9/7), 6-3

Daniil Medvedev (RUS x11) bt Alexei Popyrin (AUS) 6-7 (6/8), 6-1, 6-4, 6-4

David Goffin (BEL x21) bt Jeremy Chardy (FRA) 6-2, 6-4, 6-3

Fernando Verdasco (ESP) bt Kyle Edmund (GBR x30) 4-6, 4-6, 7-6 (7/3), 6-3, 6-4

Thomas Fabbiano (ITA) bt Ivo Karlovic (CRO) 6-3, 6-7 (6/8), 6-3, 6-7 (4/7), 6-4

Reilly Opelka (USA) bt Stan Wawrinka (SUI x22) 7-5, 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 8-6

Milos Raonic (CAN x15) bt Robin Haase (NED) 7-6 (7/1), 7-5, 7-6 (7/4)

Karen Khachanov (RUS x10) bt Feliciano Lopez (ESP) 4-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-4

Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP x23) bt Steve Darcis (BEL) 6-3, 6-2, 4-2 - retired

Benoit Paire (FRA x28) bt Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB) 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 - retired

Jirí Vesely (CZE) bt Pablo Cuevas (URU) 4-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-4, 6-4

Women

2nd round

Elina Svitolina (UKR x8) bt Margarita Gasparyan (RUS) 5-7, 6-5 - retired

Maria Sakkari (GRE x31) bt Marie Bouzkova (CZE) 6-4, 6-1

Karolina Muchova (CZE) bt Madison Brengle (USA) 6-3, 6-4

Anett Kontaveit (EST x20) bt Heather Watson (GBR) 7-5, 6-1

Hsieh Su-Wei (TPE x28) bt Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) 7-6 (7/3), 6-3

Karolina Pliskova (CZE x3) bt Monica Puig (PUR) 6-0, 6-4

Simona Halep (ROU x7) bt Mihaela Buzarnescu (ROU) 6-3, 4-6, 6-2

Victoria Azarenka (BLR) bt Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) 6-2, 6-0

Zhang Shuai (CHN) bt Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) 6-3, 6-2

Dayana Yastremska (UKR) bt Sofia Kenin (USA x27) 7-5, 4-6, 6-3

Viktorija Golubic (SUI) bt Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) 6-4, 7-6 (7/3)

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