Novak Djokovic became the first player to book his place in the third round of the draw after beating France’s Andy Mannarino in straight sets at a rain-soaked Wimbledon on Wednesday.
With bad weather preventing any play on the outside courts, Djokovic was one of the lucky few able to complete his day’s work under the protection of the Centre Court roof.
Outside of a late wobble at the end of the third set, Djokovic looked untroubled in his 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5) victory over Mannarino, with a single break of serve in each of the first two sets enough to see him open up a sizeable advantage.
Another break of serve in game seven of the third set put the Serbian within a few games of victory, but Mannarino nearly put a spanner in the works when he suddenly found a break of his own to get back on level terms in the set.
The Frenchman held firm to force a tie-break, but Djokovic was able to draw on all his talent and experience to close out the match and move into the third round, where he will face either Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci or 28th seed Sam Querrey.
Djokovic now lies in third place on the list for most consecutive Grand Slam victories – 30 – behind only Rod Laver and Don Budge, both of whom went on to complete the calendar Grand Slam, as Djokovic is trying to do this year.
Novak Djokovic sets a new Open Era record… ?
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) June 29, 2016
“Fortunately I was scheduled on Centre Court, that helps on days like this and when the roof is closed the atmosphere gets even more special. It was fun,” he said.
“I do have a lot of expectations for myself but I am grateful that I am able to play at a high level so consistently. [Thirty grand slam wins in a row] is a stat I am proud of.
“I will continue playing with lots of passion and try to be dedicated and see how it goes.”
In the only other men’s single match able to be completed by mid-afternoon on Wednesday, 10th seed Tomas Berdych of Czech Republic was able to complete a 7-6 (7-5), 5-7, 6-1, 7-6 (7-2) victory over Croatia’s Ivan Dodig to book his place in the second round.
The contest had started on Tuesday.
“It was really an up-and-down match. It should have been done yesterday. But it’s good to finish now since my opponents already finished [their first-round matches] yesterday,” Berdych said. “Now let’s wait and see what’s going to happen in the upcoming days. You just have to keep your focus and be ready for the next match.”