Djokovic beats Kokkinakis, advances to Wimbledon third round

London: The six-time champion Novak Djokovic advanced to the third round at Wimbledon with a 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 victory over Thanasi Kokkinakis of Australia here on Wednesday.

Djokovic was imperious from the start against the World No. 79, striking the ball cleanly from deep and moving smoothly around Centre Court in one of his most complete performances of the year.

He broke the Australian’s serve five times on his way to a two-hour victory that extended his winning streak at SW19 to 23 matches.

Djokovic’s next assignment in his bid for his fourth consecutive Wimbledon title is a third-round clash against countryman Miomir Kecmanovic, after the World No. 30 held off Alejandro Tabilo for a 7-6(4), 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-3 second-round win.

“I’m very happy with my performance today,” said Djokovic in his on-court interview.

“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. I tried to work him around the court, bring a lot of variety in the game.

“It was not easy to serve because of the wind, it was very swirly today 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.”

After he was pushed to four sets by Soonwoo Kwon in his first-round match on Monday, six-time champion Djokovic spoke of needing time to adjust to the surface in his first grass-court tournament of the season.

One game was enough for the six-time champion to click into top gear on Wednesday against Kokkinakis, however. Djokovic broke the Australian in the second game and didn’t look back, winning 45 per cent (40/88) of points on return in a high-quality display.

“I must say that I’m quite pleased with the way that I raised the level of tennis in two days,” said Djokovic.

“Hopefully I can keep that trajectory, keep getting better as the tournament progresses. I’m obviously just thinking about the next challenge and hopefully things will get better and better.”

Kokkinakis struggled to settle early on his Centre Court debut, but he was given few chances to find his range by Djokovic, who was dialled in from the start. Some sharp returning from the Serbian had his opponent scrambling, and he broke in the second and sixth games to ease to the opening set.

Djokovic maintained his level into the second set, coming forward at every opportunity to dictate play, and despite an improved showing from Kokkinakis another break from the Serbian in the third game was enough to move two sets ahead.

Djokovic’s serving was precise throughout. He did not face a break point until he was serving for the match at 5-2 in the third set after some late Kokkinakis resistance. Yet he held firm to hold and complete a victory that improved his ATP Head to Head series record over the Australian to 2-0.

Kokkinakis was seeking to become the lowest-ranked opponent to defeat Djokovic at Wimbledon. The 26-year-old battled gamely in just his 11th tour-level match on grass, but was ultimately powerless in the wake of a vintage display from Djokovic.

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