Djokovic, Sharapova breeze as Wimbledon endures record heat
Defending champion and top seed Djokovic reached the third round with a 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 victory over Jarkko Nieminen which brought down the curtain on the Finn’s All England Club career.
Djokovic will take on Australian 27th seed Bernard Tomic for a place in the last 16 as the Serb continues his bid to win a third Wimbledon and ninth Grand Slam crown.
It was Djokovic’s sixth career win in seven meetings against the 33-year-old Nieminen and the two men exchanged a warm embrace at the net once their 92-minute Centre Court duel had ended.
“It was his last Wimbledon so I congratulated him on a great career,” said Djokovic after firing 36 winners.
“He’s been around for many years and he’s one of the nicest guys off the court and a great fighter on it. It was a pleasure to play him.”
Tomic made the third round by defeating Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France, 7-6 (7/3), 6-4, 7-6 (7/5) <g data-gr-id="43">Fourth seeded</g> Sharapova, the 2004 champion, outclassed Dutch qualifier Richel Hogenkamp 6-3, 6-1 in just over an hour and next faces Romanian 29th seed Irina-Camelia Begu.
Sharapova, 28, hit 23 winners as she booked her place in the third round.
With temperatures at Wimbledon at a record high of 35.7 Celsius -- beating the previous mark of 34.6C in 1976 -- the tournament heat rule was being used in women’s matches.
That allows a 10-minute break between the second and third sets although the rule does not apply to men.
However, Djokovic, who has played in 40 degrees at the Australian Open, said: “It wasn’t as bad as I thought. People were talking about it and predicting really difficult conditions. But I didn’t find it as difficult as I thought it might be.”
Fifth-seeded Nishikori had been scheduled to face Colombian world number 60 Santiago Giraldo on Centre Court for a place in the last 32.
But the 25-year-old admitted that the left calf injury he suffered last month in Halle, which had forced him to retire in the semi-finals, was still a factor during his five-set win over Simone Bolelli in the first round at Wimbledon on Monday.
“It got worse in the fifth set of that match, it hurt so much,” said Nishikori. “It hurt to walk and run on Wednesday so I decided not to play.”
Paes-Nestor team advances; Raja-Martin out
Leander Paes and his Canadian partner <g data-gr-id="69">Dainel</g> Nestor overcame spirited opposition to advance to the men’s doubles second round at the Wimbledon championships but it was all over for Purav Raja and his French teammate Fabrice Martin, here on Wednesday.
11th seeds Paes and Nestor quelled the challenge from the Serbian pair of Victor Troicki and Dusan Lajovic 6-3 6-4 7-5 after battling hard for an hour and 42 minutes on Court Number six at the SW 19.
Purav Raja, who had qualified with Martin, fought their hearts out before losing 1-6 4-6 6-4 6-7 (7-9) against the 2012 Wimbledon champions Jonathan Marray and Frederik Nielson.
Paes lost serve at love in the third <g data-gr-id="66">game</g> but the Indo-Canadian pair broke back immediately to prevent damage. They broke rivals at love in the sixth game for a 4-2 lead and then the two pairs held serve with Paes and Nestor pocketing the opening set.
The second was more tight with scoreline 3-3 after <g data-gr-id="70">initial</g> battle. Paes and Nestor broke in the seventh game. The lead stayed with the 11th seeds as they served out the set in the 10th to take a firm grip over the match.