Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen played his last Wimbledon singles match on Wednesday and he faced none other than the world no.1 Novak Djokovic to bid adieu to the spectators at the Center Court. On the second day, the Finn had beaten Australia’s Old warrior Lleyton Hewitt, who also bid an emotional farewell to Wimbledon. The two last-timers had played a five-set thriller but Hewitt lost in the end. On Wednesday, Djokovic proved too strong for Nieminen in the end. The Finn made his last outing sweet by hitting some wonderful winners on a few occasions. Also on the Center Court, top seeded Serena Williams literally walked through in a straight sets victory over Hungary’s Timea Babos. On Court 2, Russia’s no.4 seed Maria Sharapova played in blistering heat to defeat Netherlands’ Richel Hogenkamp. The big upset in women’s draw was the defeat of Serbia’s no.7 seed Ana Ivanovic, who lost in straight sets to USA’s Bethanie Mattek-Sands. Other women seeds to exit Wimbledon on the third day were; Czech 11th seed Karolina Pilskova and Italy’s 19th seed Sara Errani. Among men, Japan’s Kei Nishikori withdrew from the tournament before his second round match because of injury to his left calf that impeded his court movements.
Defending champion Novak Djokovic overcame an early challenge by Finn veteran Jarkko Nieminen, who broke him to take a 3-1 lead. But the world no.1 Djokovic came back to life by winning the next three games and reasserted his dominance in the rest of the match. Playing in the murderous London heat, Djokovic outplayed Nieminen by reeling off 13 points in a row before finishing up at 6-4, 6-2, 6-3. After the match, the two players stood in a warm embrace at the net to signify an emotional farewell for Nieminen, who played at Wimbledon for the last time. Djokovic’s third round opponent is Australia’s 27th seed Bernard Tomic.
In her bid for the fourth straight major, Serena Williams advanced to the third round in a routine fashion with a dominant 6-4, 6-1 victory over Timea Babos of Hungary. Playing without a care in the world, Serena took just 59 minutes to set up a third-round clash with Britain’s Heather Watson on Friday. On court no.2, women’s no.4 seed Maria Sharapova also had an easy victory against a Dutchwoman Richel Hogenkamp. Sharapova ignored the blistering heat on the court to dismiss her opponent 6-3, 6-1 to enter the third round.
The third day’s biggest casualty was no.7 seed Ana Ivanovic of Serbia. Before the match began, Ivanovic’s meeting with USA’s Bethanie Mattek-Sands was hailed as one of the mismatches of the day. But world No158 Mattek-Sands proved everyone wrong by outplaying the Serb 6-3, 6-4, with a relentless display of flamboyant, attacking tennis.
No.5 seeded Japanese Kei Nishikori pulled out of Wimbledon due to a left calf injury and allowed Columbia’s Santiago Giraldo a walkover. Nishikori carried the injury into the tournament and despite restricted movements, won his opening match against Italy’s Simone Bolelli in five sets. But he had too much pain as he practiced on Wednesday.
In other notable matches, French open champion Stan Wawrinka sailed into the third round with a 6-3, 6-4, 7-5 victory over world no.48 Victor Estrella Burgos of the Dominican Republic and Milos Raonic took four sets to beat Germany’s Tommy Haas 6-0, 6-2, 6-7, 7-6. The Canadian will next play Australia’s Nick Kyrgios, who defeated Argentina’s Juan Monaco 7-6, 6-3, 6-4 to reach the third round. Croatia’s 9th seed Marin Cilic had a tough five-set outing against Lithuania’s world number 90 Ricardas Berankis, but he progressed after a 6-3, 4-6, 7-6, 4-6, 7-5 victory to face USA’s big serving John Isner. Last year’s semi-finalist Dimitrov reached the third round with a 7-6, 6-2, 7-6 victory over USA’s Steve Johnson. The 24-year-old Bulgarian had defeated Britain’s Andy Murray in the 2014 quarter-final before losing to eventual champion Djokovic. Dimitrov next takes on Frenchman and no.21 seed Richard Gasquet, who beat fellow Frenchman Kenny de Schepper 6-0, 6-3, 6-3.