Djokovic, Raonic through; Nishikori retires
Originally published on 01/07/15
Nieminen, who will retire at the end this season, defeated former champion Lleyton Hewitt in the first round, but despite an early break was unable to pull off an unlikely victory against the world No.1.
Djokovic, a champion at SW19 in 2011 and 2014, is bidding to become the first man since Roger Federer in 2007 to successfully defend his Wimbledon title. The Serb, who hit 38 winners during a 6-4 6-2 6-3 victory, did not celebrate on match point but went to the net to embrace his opponent.
“It’s his last Wimbledon, I’ve had a nice relationship with Jarkko for many years,” said Djokovic. “Ever since I met him as an 18-year-old playing a Challenger in Helsinki he’s been very kind to me. He’s one of the nicest guys on the tour. It’s a milestone for him; it’s his last match at Wimbledon. I’m sure he wanted to enjoy it a little bit. So he deserved the ovation.”
Awaiting Djokovic in round three is Bernard Tomic, who endured a dizzy spell and 21 aces from French wildcard Pierre-Hugues Herbert to win in straight sets, 7-6(3) 6-4 7-6(5).
Djokovic has never lost in three previous encounters against Tomic, but four years ago an 18-year-old Tomic took the eventual champion to four sets in the quarter-finals. Ranked No.158 in the world, Tomic upset Nikolay Davydenko and Robin Soderling en route to his only Grand Slam quarter-final.
“I have to serve well if I have any chance of winning,” said Tomic. “I have to play my tennis, relax, and go for it, and really believe and really be in the moment. Obviously he's the No. 1 player in the world. Against him, you have to go out with a different mindset and different belief.”
It is the first time since 2007 that two Australian men have made it into the third round at Wimbledon. Eight years after Hewitt and Wayne Arthurs made it into the last-32, Nick Kyrgios joined Tomic in the third round. Kyrgios, who shot to fame when he upset two-time champion Rafael Nadal in the fourth round a year ago, completed a 7-6(5) 6-3 6-4 victory over Argentina’s Juan Monaco to set up a third-round clash with No.7 seed Milos Raonic.
It was Raonic who ended Kyrgios’ fairytale run at the All England Club last year, winning in four sets in the quarter-finals. The Canadian hit the third-fastest serve in Wimbledon history, 145mph as he closed out a 6-0 6-2 6-7(5) 7-6(4) victory against 37-year-old German Tommy Haas.
“Playing on Court One at Wimbledon at my age, my career, was very special,” said Haas, who returned to action in Stuttgart a fortnight ago after a year out following shoulder surgery. “I’m not going to forget it, that’s for sure. It came pretty close to maybe going to a fifth set.”
Santiago Giraldo was the first man into the third round after No.5 seed Kei Nishikori withdrew with a calf injury.
"I thought it would be okay but in the last match in the fifth set it was hurting too much and I decided not to play," said Nishikori, who needed five sets to beat Simone Bolelli in the first round.