Two top seeds needed come-from-behind wins, while four lower seeds were ousted on Thursday at Wimbledon, where lead threats Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer moved into the third round without losing a set.
The No. 2-seeded Djokovic beat Czech Adam Pavlasek 6-2, 6-2, 6-1, while a nervy Federer overcame some early difficulty to dismiss Serb Dusan Lajovic 7-6(0), 6-3, 6-2.
“I struggled early on,” Federer said. “I couldn’t get rid of the nerves. It was a pity I couldn’t hold my serve. Even though I got back into the game after that because I broke him, I just struggled in that first set. After that I was happy to get rid of the nerves, just to play some free tennis, more inspired and at the end it was actually pretty good.”
Djokovic had coaches Andre Agassi and Mario Ancic looking on.
“It’s perfect,” said the former No. 1. “Exactly what I want. I don’t want to have any five-set matches. I had enough match play in Eastbourne. I felt very good today in terms of my game and where it was from the beginning till the end. So it just keeps going in the right direction.”
Top 10 seeds posting comeback wins were No. 6 Milos Raonic who defeated Mikhail Youzhny 3-6, 7-6(7), 6-4, 7-5, and No. 8 Dominic Thiem who came back to beat Gilles Simon 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-4, while No. 10 Alexander Zverev straight-setted American comer Frances Tiafoe 6-3, 6-4, 6-3.
“It’s always nice to get a quick one in the beginning of the tournament,” the younger Zverev said. “I’ve had two three-set matches now, which is very, very nice. I felt pretty good out there. Serving well, playing well from the baseline.”
Lower-seeded winners were No. 11 Tomas Berdych who needed four sets to beat American Ryan Harrison, No. 13 Grigor Dimitrov, No. 15 Gael Monfils, No. 25 Albert Ramos who came from 1-2 sets down to beat Andrey Rublev, and No. 27 Mischa Zverev who outlasted Mikhail Kukushkin in five.
The elder Zverev will next face Federer.
On the upset tip were unheralded Austrian Sebastian Ofner who beat the back-from-injury No. 17 Jack Sock 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 2-6, 6-2; Israeli veteran Dudi Sela who tamed the big serve of No. 23 John Isner 6-7(5), 7-6(5), 5-7, 7-6(5), 6-3; Latvian Ernests Gulbis who unexpectedly showed up to stun No. 29 Juan Martin del Potro in straights 6-4, 6-4, 7-6(3); and American Jared Donaldson who defeated No. 32 Paolo Lorenzi 6-4, 7-6(0), 6-7(0), 6-2.
“This is very satisfying,” said the No. 589-ranked Gulbis, who hadn’t won a tour-level match in over a year, and will next face Djokovic. “My shots are really clean right now. I feel very confident on both sides. As soon as I’m relaxed, I can produce this kind of tennis.”
Matches to look for Friday at the All-England Club are (4) Rafael Nadal vs. (30) Karen Khachanov, (1) Andy Murray vs. (28) Fabio Fognini, (7) Marin Cilic vs. (28) Steve Johnson, and (12) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs. (24) Sam Querrey.
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