LONDON: Novak Djokovic clinically disposed of fellow Serb Miomir Kecmanovic as he continued his relentless pursuit of a fourth successive Wimbledon title with a comfortable 6-0, 6-3, 6-4 victory on Friday.
The top seed was unplayable in the opening set of his third-round match on Centre Court, taking it in 24 minutes. Kecmanovic, seeded 25th, received the biggest cheer of the day when he finally got on the scoreboard after 35 minutes by taking a long service game.
But, Djokovic was streets ahead of his 22-year-old rival as the former reached the last-16 at Wimbledon for the 14th time. The 35-year-old needed just one break of serve in the second set and broke twice in the third to lead 5-2 before blotting his copybook slightly with a couple of loose games.
It only delayed the inevitable, however, as Djokovic completed victory to set up a clash with Dutch wildcard Tim van Rijthoven.
Maria stuns fifth seed Sakkari
Germany’s Tatjana Maria, at 34 the oldest player left in the women’s draw, knocked fifth seed Maria Sakkari out of Wimbledon 6-3, 7-5, making it to the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time in her career.
Ranked 103rd, Maria will next face the 12th-seeded Latvian Jelena Ostapenko for a place in the quarter-finals of the grass-court major. Greek Sakkari made 30 unforced errors and could only convert one of her seven break-point opportunities.
“It feels amazing. I am in the last-16 for the first time, so that is already amazing. To win against Sakkari, yeah, it is pretty awesome,” Maria told reporters. “I think I played a good match from the beginning to the end. Yeah, it makes me happy.”
Mertens beats former champion Kerber
Belgian Elise Mertens stayed solid against an error-prone Angelique Kerber of Germany to defeat the former Wimbledon champion 6-4, 7-5 and reach the fourth round.
Mertens had achieved her best showing at the grass-court Grand Slam in 2019 when she reached the Round-of-16 and came into Friday’s contest having defeated the three-time major winner in their only previous meeting three years ago.
RESULTS (SELECTED): Men’s singles: Third round: N Djokovic bt M Kecmanovic 6-0, 6-3, 6-4; N Basilashvili lost to T van Rijthoven 4-6, 3-6, 4-6; F Tiafoe bt A Bublik 3-6, 7-6(1), 7-6(3), 6-4; T Paul bt J Vesely 6-3, 6-2, 6-2; U Humbert lost to D Goffin 6-4, 5-7, 2-6, 5-7
Women’s singles: Third round: M Sakkari lost to T Maria 3-6, 5-7; D Parry lost to O Jabeur 2-6, 3-6; L Tsurenko lost to J Niemeier 4-6, 6-3, 3-6; C Gauff bt M Buzarnescu 6-2, 6-3; I Begu lost to J Ostapenko 6-3, 1-6, 1-6; A Kerber lost to E Mertens 4-6, 5-7
Mixed doubles: Second round: M Pavic/S Mirza bt N Dzalamidze/D Vega Hernandez 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(10-3)