Kyle Edmund fought hard but proved no major barrier to Novak Djokovic who, after surprisingly dropping the first set to the British No.2, comfortably romped into round three 6-7(5) 6-3 6-4 6-2 having lost his first tie-break of the year and improving his win-loss record for the season to 25-0.
Kyle played a fantastic first set. He didn’t do much wrong, he served very well and was aggressive from the back of the court. Usually his forehand is a weapon, but backhand, especially in the first set, was very strong, very solid Novak Djokovic
“It was anybody’s game really for a set and a half,” Djokovic conceded. “I made some breaks and then obviously after winning the second set I felt more comfortable. I was returning better, I started to read his serve better and I was pleased with my serve. Overall, it was a very good test and I am happy to get through.
“Kyle played a fantastic first set,” he continued. “He didn’t do much wrong, he served very well and was aggressive from the back of the court. Usually his forehand is a weapon, but backhand, especially in the first set, was very strong, very solid.”
Djokovic now has a Friday date with Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff, a 6-2 6-2 7-5 victor over Michael Mmoh of the US, whom he beat just a week ago in the warm-up event played on the same courts.
“Another big server. I obviously played a great match against him in the Western & Southern Open,” said Djokovic. “There are different conditions here, and I like my chances in best-of-five.”
But there was some good news later in the day for the Brits as their No.3, Cameron Norrie, reached the third round at a Grand Slam for the first time with a straight sets victory over Argentina’s Federico Coria.
The 25-year-old did not appear fatigued from his five-set comeback first round win over ninth seed Diego Schwartzman to post a positive 6-3 6-4 6-4 triumph.
Norrie takes on Spain’s unseeded Alejandro Davidovich Fokina on Friday, the Spaniard having ousted the 24th seed, Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz 6-4 1-6 6-2 6-2.
“It feels even better because I’m not playing my best tennis and I’m just really proud of my attitude out there,” Norrie told Amazon Prime.
“Having had such a good win against Schwartzman on Monday I was pleased to back it up.
“It’s always tough to have such a high like that and then get up for the next one, so I was happy to get through in straight sets and save the legs a little bit.”
In other action Alexander Zverev did not drop serve but was stretched by teenager wildcard Brandon Nakashima, world ranked 223.
“I didn’t get broken even though my second serve was shaky a little bit,” Zverev admitted following his 7-5 6-7(8) 6-3 6-1 victory. “My backhand was shaky too. I will have to go practise some more.”
Zverev, the fifth seed, took the initiative, from the start but Nakashima, who reached the U.S. Open junior semi-finals last year, came out fighting with some relentless baseline hitting to level but not before being forced into a tiebreak where he wasted five set points before the German double faulted to concede it.
Zverev commented on the high number of double faults he made, saying: “Take the 10 double faults away and it’s perfect. Obviously I didn’t want to lose the second set, but I know that if I play my game I can still win. So it was one set all, everything was still open. He’s a good player, has an incredible backhand.”
That second set setback spurred Zverev into another gear to sweep through into the third round where he meets the 32nd seed, Adrian Mannarino of France, who dispatched Jack Sock 7-6(5) 7-5 6-2 to make the appointment.
Stefanos Tsitsipas, the fourth seed, had his hands full during his first set against American wildcard Maxime Cressy who blasted 21 aces and constantly rushed the net before finally quelling him 7-6(2) 6-3 6-4.
Tsitsipas next plays Croatia’s Borna Coric, the 27th seed, for a place in the last 16, who survived against Juan Ignacio Londero of Argentina, winning 7-5 4-6 6-7(5) 6-2 6-3
The only other five setter played on Wednesday was Mikhail Kukushkin’s 6-1 6-2 3-6 4-6 7-5 victory over the 23rd seeded Cristian Garin of Chile.
David Goffin (7) and Filip Krajinovic (24) both advanced to meet on Friday as did Taylor Fritz (19) who will now face Denis Shapovalov (12) who was in some trouble after splitting sets with Soonwoo Kwon before pulling away in four sets.