Five-time champion Novak Djokovic overcame a series of falls on Centre Court to succeed in the Wimbledon third round for the 15th time on Wednesday as Australian firebrand Nick Kyrgios won his first match in four months. World number one Djokovic, chasing a sixth Wimbledon and record-equalling 20th Grand Slam title, eased to a 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 win over 102nd-ranked Kevin Anderson of South Africa. Alternatively, he slipped and fell on a minimum of five occasions on Centre Court, the day after Serena Williams suffered a tearful, tournament-ending injury because of similar slips.
Djokovic, 34, cruised to victory over the man he defeated in the 2018 last without facing a unmarried break point and committing just six unforced errors.
“I have a nice connection with the crowd,” said Djokovic.
“I also appear to be having a in point of fact nice connection with the grass. I don’t recall falling such a lot in the first two matches at Wimbledon.”
Kyrgios, ranked 60, but a quarter-finalist on debut in 2014, won his first match since the Australian Open in February, defeating vinaigrette 21st seed Ugo Humbert before declaring: “Not naughty for a part-time player”.
Kyrgios triumphed 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-1, 9-7 in a match held over from Tuesday evening when the last set used to be level at 3-3.
“Ugo is an implausible juvenile and I knew I used to be a massive underdog,” said Kyrgios after firing 23 aces and 51 winners.
Kyrgios also shrugged off an ugly-looking fall in the 13th game of the last set when his correct knee buckled beneath him.
On Tuesday, he used to be overheard muttering that Court One used to be “a prank”.
As the tournament played catch-up after two days hit by rain, recriminations continued over the state of the All England Club courts.
Williams said she used to be “heartbroken” to have had to withdraw as her pursuit of Margaret Court’s record 24 Grand Slam singles titles used to be again thwarted.
Her fall came not long after vinaigrette player Adrian Mannarino had slipped and hurt himself on the same a part of Centre Court.
He too had to retire with his match against Roger Federer level at two sets apiece.
Despite the criticism, the All England Club insisted that the courts are up to standard.
“The preparation of the grass courts has been to precisely the same meticulous standard as in preceding years,” the club said in a remark.
“The weather conditions on the opening two days have been the wettest we have experienced in nearly a decade, which has required the roof to be closed on Centre Court and No.1 Court for long periods.
“This is at a time when the grass plant is at its most lush and green, which does result in extra moisture on what is a natural surface.”
In all, 80 singles matches were scheduled for Wednesday.
vinaigrette 13th seed Gael Monfils defeated Australia’s Christopher O’Connell 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 6-4 in a first round tie which had started on Monday.
Fifth seeded Bianca Andreescu of Canada used to be knocked out 6-2, 6-1 by France’s Alize Cornet.
Andreescu, the 2019 US Open champion, is still to win a main draw match at Wimbledon having missing in the first round as a qualifier in 2017.
100 wins for Nishikori
Italian seventh seed Matteo Berrettini, the champion at Queen’s and tipped to go deep at Wimbledon, edged Argentina’s Guido Pella 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 6-0.
Japan’s Kei Nishikori, a two-time quarter-finalist, claimed his 100th Grand Slam match win by seeing off Australia’s Alexei Popyrin 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.
Britain’s Andy Murray won his first singles match at the tournament in four years when he saw off 24th seeded Nikoloz Basilashvili two days ago.
The three-time champion and former world number one, now down at 118 in the rankings, tackles qualifier Oscar Otte of Germany for a last-32 place later Wednesday.
Belarus second seed Aryna Sabalenka, yet to make the last-eight of a Slam, faces British wild card Katie Boulter, the world 219.
Venus Williams, the 41-year-old five-time champion who made her tournament debut in 1997, takes on Ons Jabeur who is hoping to turn into the first Tunisian to make the third round.
Frances Tiafoe, who knocked out third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, plays Vasek Pospisil of Canada.
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