All the Big Names on show in the men’s draw on Day Four of The Championships, cleared their second-round opponents though two seeds who were not considered potential contenders, Gael Monfils and Grigor Dimitrov, crashed out.
I look at Wimbledon always with a special feeling. The first time I was here, I was just feeling like it's a temple. Being here, playing and feeling good, just everything is really nice. Matteo Berrettini
The rain over the first few days which had backed up play held off and the 18 ‘Gentlemen’s Singles’ on the card were duly played out to complete round two and get the operation back on schedule.
Seventh seed Matteo Berrettini continued his strong grass-court season with a hard-fought, two-hour and 17-minute battle to secure a 6-3 6-4 7-6(4) victory over Dutchman Botic Van de Zandschulp.
The Italian, who lifted the Queen’s trophy on his debut there prior to arriving at Wimbledon, struck 20 aces to maintain his challenge at this year’s Championships which he continues to enhance having yet to be beaten on grass in seven consecutive matches,
“It gives me confidence because I know I can win these kind of matches, even though I’m not playing my best tennis,” the likeable Italian said. “I won in straight sets with a guy that was playing really good. It means I played a really good level. At the same time, I know that I can play better.
“I look at Wimbledon always with a special feeling. The first time I was here, I was just feeling like it’s a temple. Being here, playing and feeling good, just everything is really nice.”
Berrettini though remains the dark horse as far as title contenders go with the likes of Alexander Zverev and Roger Federer ahead of him on his side of the draw with Daniil Medvedev joining the list having discovered he is able to play on grass in sunny Mallorca.
The Russian required three sets to sweep past the fast-rising Spanish youngster Carlos Alcaraz who is seen by Spanish pundits as the next Rafa Nadal!
The 18-year-old is an exceptional player but on this occasion, found the world number two too hot to handle and after 90-minutes, Medvedev completed what was a routine 6-4 6-1 6-2 victory but not without first tangling with the No.1 Court crowd for preferring to support the youngster rather than himself!
He cupped his ear to try and hear any support directed his way, especially when he won the first set and heard groans at Alcaraz falling behind.
The gesture was repeated several times, even when he was seated, and underlined by a series of disbelieving ‘tutts’.
Like Novak Djokovic, Medvedev is desperate to be loved and has fallen foul of spectators on several occasions, especially in the US when he raised a middle finger at fans and taunted the US Open crowd.
Medvedev, though, played some scintillating tennis, did acknowledge the young Spaniard’s potential.
“Carlos is an amazing player. I was surprised in the first set because I know grass is not really his surface.
“In the second and third sets maybe the gap was greater – but I’m sure he’s going to be in the top 10 soon, maybe higher.”
And then reminded spectators: “I love grass. In my first four grand slams I had only one victory and it was here, so Wimbledon will always be special to me.”
The one player who can always count on being supported from the stands is Roger Federer who has just notched up another first by becoming the oldest man to reach the third round at Wimbledon in 46 years.
The great Swiss turns 40 next month so will have to wait another year if he is to equal Australian Ken Rosewall’s achievement of reaching the fourth round when he was 40 back in 1975.
Federer maintained his winning record against Richard Gasquet extending his winning streak over the Frenchman to 11 matches, 7-6(1) 6-1 6-4 and his overall record against him to 19-2.
There is going to be split loyalties when he comes back on court next Saturday and faces Britain’s No.2 Cameron Norrie who is one of the in-form players of the season.
After a nervy start, Norrie imposed himself on Australian wildcard Alex Bolt 6-3 6-1 6-2.
The two have met before in Hopman Cup action two-and-a-half-years ago and it was very much a one-sided affair as far as the Brit was concerned, as he picked up just two games.
“Cam’s a good guy, he’s had a wonderful year too, played great at Queen’s and he’s backed it up here. I’m happy for him,” Federer replied on court when asked how it would be and then, with a broad smile and a twinkle in his eye, added: “But enough now. He needs to go out, I need to go through.”
The crowd loved it!
Norrie kept his feet on the ground. “I think the guy’s obviously such a legend of the game, he’s very comfortable here, very confident here,” he said.
“He’s won a lot, probably more than any other slam here. He’s very successful here at Wimbledon.
“Yeah, first of all, it’s just going to be a pleasure to play against him again. I played him once before. He absolutely whacked me pretty easily. I’m going to just look at it like any other match.
“It’s going to be unbelievable regardless.”
Meanwhile world number six Alexander Zverev, 24, produced a dominant display to defeat American Tennys Sandgren 7-5 6-2 6-3.
The German, last year’s US Open finalist and last month’s French Open quarter-finalist, is in confident mood and has yet to drop a set – but it’s early days.
His best result at Wimbledon was a fourth-round exit and he is determined to not just improve on that but go all the way and if his serve continues to maintain the consistency, power and accuracy it has done to date, he should be there in the latter stages.
He will face Taylor Fritz in round three, who defeated fellow American Steve Johnson in a marathon match. 6-4 7-6(4) 4-6 6-7(4) 6-4 but what was even more surprising, was that he left Roland Garros three weeks ago in a wheelchair having suffered a bad knee injury.
He underwent ‘meniscus’ surgery to correct it and with a heavily strapped leg, is now in the third round of Wimbledon having played and won, two matches over six-hours and 27-minutes.
Even he can’t quite believe it, posting on Twitter: “This is the first time I very unironically said, you know ‘built different,’ like it’s nine sets in 26 hours, you know four sets, five sets back to back. [I] just had knee surgery three weeks ago; it doesn’t even feel real to me; I don’t even know how is it possible. I was just saying to my physio when we’re getting worked on like I just don’t understand how my knee feels so good right now.”
Spanish eighth seed Roberto Bautista Agut and Australian Nick Kyrgios also sealed their places in round three.
2019 semi-finalist Bautista Agut earned a hard-fought victory in five sets against Miomir Kecmanovic, prevailing 6-3 6-3 6-7(3) 3-6 6-3.
Kyrgios asked supporters for advice on where to serve as he triumphed 7-6(7) 6-4 6-4 against Italy’s Gianluca Mager.
He will meet 16th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime, following the Canadian’s 6-4 4-6 7-6(4) 6-1 win against Mikael Ymer of Sweden, who was one of the many to suffer falls.
Australian Jordan Thompson stunned former world No.4 Kei Nishikori 7-5 6-4 5-7 6-3, to join compatriot James Duckworth in the third round.
Duckworth made it to the last 32 of a grand slam for the first time in his 12-year professional career after a win over former All England Club semi-finalist Sam Querrey 7-5 6-7(4) 6-3 6-2.
Meanwhile, Aussie qualifier Marc Polmans’ Wimbledon run came to an end in his fifth match, going down to the rising Chilean star Cristian Garin 7-6(3) 6-2 2-6 7-6(5).
Out as mentioned earlier, are French 13th seed Gael Monfils and Bulgarian 18th seed Grigor Dimitrov.
Monfils lost in four sets to Spaniard Pedro Martinez, going down 6-3 6-4 4-6 7-6(5), while Dimitrov fell to a 6-4 7-6(6) 7-6(4) defeat by Kazakh Alexander Bublik.