Wimbledon: Nadal, Djokovic advance

Annette Crawford
July 7, 2018

"It's a little bit sad".

Reigning world number one and Roland Garros champion Nadal defeated Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 and will next face Australian teenager Alex de Minaur.

Djokovic was far too good for the 126-ranked Zeballos, taking just an hour and 31 minutes to win 6-1 6-2 6-3 on No.2 Court on Thursday.

The 12th seed will next take on either home hope Kyle Edmund or American Bradley Klahn.

Cilic, meanwhile blew a two-set lead in his 3-6, 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/3), 7-5 loss to Argentina's Guido Pella, ranked No.82.

Cilic was two sets to the good when rain struck on Wednesday evening, but surrendered a vital service break in one of the last acts before play was postponed until morning.

But the Croatian collapsed once the match resumed on Court One on Thursday and Pella took full advantage to set up a third-round clash with Mackenzie McDonald.

"Regardless of whether it's a first round or a final, I'm out there to try and win a match and it was certainly nice to give myself a chance in the second round here at Wimbledon", said the 17th seed.

The Kazakh kept pushing and passed up another break point opportunity, but errors crept in towards the end of the set and Kukushkin gifted Nadal the lead when a ball agonisingly bounced away off the tape. Playing on grass, obviously having 10-plus aces in a match, it's not a common feeling that I get to experience a lot. "I accepted. Between sets I needed that time to change all this stuff because it was a very humid day".

Nadal, the 2008 and 2010 champion, was tested by World No.77 Kukushkin, a player who is coached by his wife.

"She's also consistent enough", the four-times major victor said.

"I didn t know but I don t see a clock here". I don't see that countdown. Had Kukushkin converted a few more of them it could have got really complicated for Nadal, who is still finding his grasscourt game after claiming an 11th French Open title.

While the audience numbers were more limited on Court Two compared with his usual playing fields of Centre and Court One, Djokovic still made it a day to remember for the 4,000 fans who had crammed into the more intimate arena.

The only cause for concern was when Djokovic suddenly started wincing while running along the baseline in the seventh game of the third set and called on the trainer to get his left thigh massaged.

Three-time Major victor Stan Wawrinka was unable to follow up his first round defeat of sixth seed Grigor Dimitrov when he lost 6-7 (7-9), 3-6, 6-7 (6-8) to Italian qualifier Thomas Fabbiano.

Juan Martin del Potro showed he is shaping up nicely for tougher matches ahead with a 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 romp past Spanish veteran Feliciano Lopez to reach the third round.

In the conclusion of other matches suspended Wednesday, eighth-seeded South African Kevin Anderson defeated Italian Andreas Seppi 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4, and ninth-seeded American John Isner survived the fifth set to beat Belgian qualifier Ruben Bemelmans 6-1, 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-7 (3), 7-5.

Nick Kyrgios eased past Robin Haase 6-3 6-4 7-5, to book a third-round clash with Kei Nishikori, who accounted for Bernard Tomic 2-6 6-3 7-6 (9/7) 7-5. Japan's Naomi Osaka advanced to the third round by defeating Britain's Katie Boulter 6-3, 6-4.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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