London – Novak Djokovic continued his bid for a record-equalling 20th Grand Slam singles title with a comprehensive straight-sets victory over big-serving South African Kevin Anderson in the second round at Wimbledon.
The world No 1 produced a virtually flawless display to dispatch the former world No 5 in a repeat of the 2018 final, closing out a 6-3 6-3 6-3 success in 1 hour and 41 minutes on Centre Court. Djokovic survived an early fright against 19-year-old British wildcard Jack Draper in round one, relinquishing the opening set before underlining his dominance to prevail in four sets. Nevertheless, the Serb was untroubled against the imposing Anderson – making just six unforced errors and winning 85 per cent of points on his first serve, advancing without facing a solitary break point. “I’m very pleased [with my performance], Kevin is a terrific player and very dangerous on grass courts,” Djokovic said on court afterwards.
Earlier in the day, seventh seed Matteo Berrettini kicked off his campaign with a four-set victory over 2019 quarter-finalist Guido Pella on Court 3. The big-hitting Italian fired down 20 aces and produced 47 winners as he extended his winning streak on grass to six matches, despite relinquishing the second set against the Argentine.
There was little to separate the pair midway through the third set, but Berrettini’s class shone in the latter stages, as he reeled off eight games without reply to prevail 6-4 3-6 6-4 6-0 in 2 hours and 16 minutes. Nick Kyrgios marked his first appearance since February’s Australian Open with a thrilling five-set victory over Halle champion Ugo Humbert on No.1 Court. Kyrgios ironically defeated Humbert in Melbourne earlier this year, and he recovered from a nasty fall in the closing stages to triumph 6-4 4-6 3-6 6-1 9-7 against the 21st seed.
Two-time quarter-finalist Kei Nishikori produced a clinical display to defeat Alexei Popyrin, prevailing 6-4 6-4 6-4 to reach the second round and secure his 100th Grand Slam win in the process. Elsewhere, 11th seed Pablo Carreno Busta was beaten 7-6 (6) 6-4 7-5 by 2017 semi-finalist Sam Querrey, while 28th seed John Isner succumbed against Yoshihito Nishioka in a five-set epic, despite registering an incredible 87 winners.