Novak Djokovic breezes through to banish last year’s Court One nightmare

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Novak Djokovic set aside sorry memories of Court One as he breezed through to the third round at Wimbledon.

Twelve months on from losing to American Sam Querrey in the third round in the same arena, it was a stroll in the early-afternoon sun for the three-time champion against nervy Czech Adam Pavlasek.

He won 6-2 6-2 6-1, and said the work being carried out on the court to install a roof meant it felt quite different to the stage where his title defence ended last year.

“It looks quite open now, because there are construction works being done. It felt different. But in a good way. I enjoyed it.”

Novak Djokovic and Adam Pavlasek meet at the net after their second round match
Novak Djokovic and Adam Pavlasek meet at the net after their second round match (Adam Davy/PA)

Latvian Ernests Gulbis awaits Djokovic on Saturday, after his impressive 6-4 6-4 7-6 (7/3) victory over former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro.

After a torrid time in his career, going without a main-tour win since the 2016 French Open and suffering a severe wrist problem, Gulbis is out to claim some big scalps and there are few bigger than Djokovic.

“I came here without any expectations. I didn’t know if I was going to win a set here honestly,” Gulbis said. “Now I’ve won six sets in a row. The first round was really comfortable. This match (I was) playing really good.

“I had nothing to lose also (in) this match, and I played well. I’m going to have even less to lose next match. Maybe I’ll play even better.”

German left-hander Mischa Zverev won in five sets against Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin to set up a third-round clash qirg Roger Fededer.

Zverev’s younger brother, highly-rated 10th seed Alexander Zverev, was too strong for fellow young gun Frances Tiafoe, toppling the American 6-3 6-4 6-3.

French 15th seed Gael Monfils is no fan of grass yet matched his career-best Wimbledon run by reaching round three, defeating Britain’s Kyle Edmund 7-6 (7/1) 6-4 6-4 on Centre Court.

“I’ve never had great results on grass,” said Monfils. “So I guess I’m just playing a bit better.

“Maybe I have a better understanding about myself, how to move a little bit. But for me, I still think this is not a court where I can be able to play my best.”

American 23rd seed John Isner bowed out, beaten in five gruelling sets by a man a foot shorter than him in Israel’s Dudi Sela.

Next for Sela is Bulgaria’s former semi-finalist Grigor Dimitrov who tore to a 6-3 6-2 6-1 win over Marcos Baghdatis on Court Two.

Dimitrov is on alert for an in-form Sela, saying: “That’s a hell of an effort, for sure, for him to beat John.

“I saw a little bit of the last game of the match, and he’s just playing well. There’s no way that I can just predict what’s going to happen right now.”

Last year’s runner-up Milos Raonic has yet to hit peak form but was too strong over four sets for Russian veteran Mikhail Youzhny, the Canadian prevailing 3-6 7-6 (9-7) 6-4 7-5, while Czech 11th seed Tomas Berdych also came through in four against American Ryan Harrison.

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