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Rediff.com  » Sports » Wimbledon PHOTOS: Federer and Djokovic cruise; Rybarikova knocks out Pliskova

Wimbledon PHOTOS: Federer and Djokovic cruise; Rybarikova knocks out Pliskova

Last updated on: July 07, 2017 10:48 IST

PHOTOS from day four of the Wimbledon championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in London on Thursday.

Federer eases past Lajovic

Roger Federer

IMAGE: Roger Federer celebrates winning his second round match. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Roger Federer turned on the style on Centre Court after a rocky start to beat Serbian Dusan Lajovic 7-6(0), 6-3, 6-2 in the Wimbledon second round on Thursday.

The Swiss, trying to win an eighth title, dropped his opening service game and had to battle hard in the first set before outclassing his opponent 7-0 in the tiebreak.

With dark clouds looming overhead Federer looked in a hurry to get the job done and broke early in the second set to assume complete control.

The third set was one-way traffic and Federer sealed victory with his ninth ace of the match to set up a third-round clash against German serve-and-volleyer Mischa Zverev.

"I couldn't get rid of the nerves early on and struggled to find my rhythm," Federer said. "I got back in and broke him back but struggled throughout the first set.

"In the end it was very good."

Kerber overcomes canny Flipkens

Angelique Kerber

IMAGE: Angelique Kerber plays a backhand. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Top seed Angelique Kerber battled past Kirsten Flipkens to reach the third round at Wimbledon, overcoming the Belgian's unorthodox game to win 7-5, 7-5 on Thursday.

Kerber, who reached the final last year, again showed signs of the vulnerability that has dogged her game in 2017.

Having claimed the Australian and US Open crowns last year, Kerber has not won a single title this season and struggled for fluency against Flipkens, who tried everything in her power to upset the world number one.

At times in the first set Kerber found Flipkens' game unfathomable as the Belgian tried her luck with a number of perfectly-weighted drop shots and low slices, while frequently charging the net in an effort to upset the German baseliner.

The pair exchanged four successive breaks of serve, before Kerber regained her composure to hold and then broke Flipkens for the third straight time to reassert her authority before taking the first set.

It was another even battle in the second as the players exchanged breaks before Kerber struck decisively in the 11th game and then served out to win in one hour 44 minutes.

Canada's Raonic rides his luck to reach round three

Canada’s Milos Raonic in action during his second round match against Russia’s Mikhail Youzhny

IMAGE: Canada’s Milos Raonic in action during his second round match against Russia’s Mikhail Youzhny. Photograph: Matthew Childs/Reuters

Milos Raonic judged himself both fantastic and just average after beating Mikhail Youzhny 3-6, 7-6(7), 6-4, 7-5 in his quest to go one better than last year's runner-up spot at Wimbledon.

Facing multiple choice questions from reporters, the sixth-seeded Canadian did turn down option C, poor, but Raonic knew he had ridden his luck against the 35-year-old Russian on Thursday to reach round three.

"I think I won two points in the first two or three games. That was a bad start," Raonic, who lost to Britain's Andy Murray in straight sets in last year's final, told reporters.

"I was fortunate that I didn't get down two sets to love. He had those two set points... He was up 6-4 in that tiebreaker.

"I got very lucky in those scenarios and then I sort of kept plugging away and made it count after that."

Raonic next plays Spanish 25th seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

Aggressive Wozniacki powers past Bulgaria's Pironkova

Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki celebrates winning the second round match against Bulgaria’s Tsvetana Pironkova 

IMAGE: Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki celebrates winning the second round match against Bulgaria’s Tsvetana Pironkova. Photograph: Matthew Childs/Reuters

Caroline Wozniacki's power game proved too much for Tsvetana Pironkova as she eased past her Bulgarian opponent 6-3, 6-4 in their Wimbledon second-round clash on Thursday.

In a gruelling baseline duel, the Danish fifth seed's bigger shots off both wings and her pinpoint accuracy as she hit the lines time and again proved to be decisive.

She largely had the measure of 29-year-old Pironkova, ranked 131, whom she had beaten in their four previous encounters.

It was not all brute power, however - Wozniacki also showed flashes of her deft touch as the match progressed, including a beautifully judged lob to break serve in the second set.

The Dane, who will face 38th ranked Estonian Anett Kontaveit in the next round, was happy with her performance.

"I feel like I'm hitting it (the ball) well. I thought I played aggressive, defended where I needed to," said the 26-year-old, who has finished two seasons as world number one -- 2010 and 2011 -- but has never won a grand slam.

"I haven't had any easy matches here this week yet. It's only going to get tougher."

Gulbis rips up script with victory over Del Potro

IMAGE: Ernests Gulbis, left, and Juan Martin Del Potro shake hands after the match. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Latvian Ernests Gulbis deprived Wimbledon of a sequel to one of the best men's singles matches in recent years when he knocked out Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro on Thursday.

A high-octane clash between Del Potro and three-times champion Novak Djokovic looked likely in the third round, stoking memories of their epic 2013 semi-final, but Latvian Gulbis had other ideas. He won 6-4, 6-4, 7-6(3).

The 28-year-old Latvian has struggled with wrist and shoulder injuries since reaching the 2014 French Open semi-finals, losing to Djokovic, and dropped to 589 in the world rankings on Monday.

Arriving at Wimbledon on a protected ranking of 99, Gulbis had won only two matches all year at any level.

But he backed up his first-round win over Victor Estrella Burgos, in which he dropped four games, with a superb performance against 29th seed Del Potro, another player plagued by injuries in recent years.

"It's very satisfying. I found out yesterday that it was my first win in 13 months at Tour level in a main draw," said Gulbis. "I won one Challenger (level) match and I won one qualifier in Rotterdam. It's been a long time."

Del Potro was not surprised by Gulbis' level.

"Last year I was 1,000 in the world and nobody believed in that ranking either," the former US Open champion, who has battled back from several wrist surgeries, said.

"I know how good Ernests is on grass, and if he has a good day he can beat all the guys."

Gulbis said he is relishing taking on Serbian second seed Djokovic, who has won three Wimbledon titles.

"I had nothing to lose today and I'm going to have even less to lose next match. Maybe I'll play even better," he said.

Pliskova sent packing by Rybarikova

Magdalena Rybarikova

IMAGE: Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia serves. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

One of the Wimbledon pre-tournament favourites Karolina Pliskova was dumped out in round two on Thursday, with Slovakia's 87th-ranked Magdalena Rybarikova beating her 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 on Centre Court.

Third seed Pliskova came into the tournament on the back of a grasscourt title in Eastbourne and leading the Race to Singapore season rankings but had never reached the third round at the All England Club.

The top spot in the rankings was also on the horizon for Pliskova but she damaged her chances against experienced campaigner Rybarikova, who missed the second half of 2016 due to wrist and knee surgery.

The 25-year-old Czech looked lacklustre at times and lacked accuracy against Rybarikova, 28, whose never-say-die attitude was summed up by a net-side masterclass in the final game of the match that had the crowd gasping.

"It was very difficult to play Karolina Pliskova, she plays very well. I was not so confident, I am speechless right now. It is an amazing feeling," Rybarikova, who reached a career high of 31 in 2013, said as she came off court.

"It's special. I had two surgeries and hadn't played for seven months, it's amazing. I am so glad, It was a difficult time for me and my coach told me that something good was going to happen. This is it.

"Could I win Wimbledon? I'm not thinking about it. It will be very difficult."

With 23-times Grand Slam champion Serena Williams out expecting her first child the women's field is now wide open and stranger things have happened.

Rybarikova meets Ukrainian world number 35 Lesia Tsurenko in round three.

Djokovic trounces Pavlasek in punishing heat

Novak Djokovic

IMAGE: Novak Djokovic celebrates winning his second round match. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Novak Djokovic raced into the Wimbledon third round on Thursday, but has yet to be given a real workout.

The three-time champion was in relentless form as he trounced Wimbledon debutant Adam Pavlasek 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 in little more than 90 minutes. It was Djokovic's first full match at the tournament after his first-round opponent retired hurt with the Serb leading 6-3, 2-0.

Djokovic said afterwards that he was delighted he had only lost eight games in two rounds.

"It's perfect -- exactly what I want," he said, grinning. "I don't want to have any five-set matches."

"I felt very good today in terms of my game, it just keeps going in the right direction," added the second seed, who is looking to salvage his season after losing his Australian and French Open crowns.

Djokovic was unstoppable against Pavlasek on a sweltering Court One. He pinned his Czech opponent behind the baseline with unerring groundstrokes off both wings, moving him from side to side in the 30 Celsius heat and forcing error after error.

Pavlasek was playing his childhood hero and the 22-year-old, ranked 136, appeared overawed by the occasion. He rarely tested the 12-time Grand Slam champion.

Djokovic, 30, was asked afterwards whether he found it strange playing someone who had idolised him when growing up.

"Well, first of all, it makes me look old," he chuckled. "But it is definitely very nice to hear that I inspired him, you know, with my tennis and what I have done. It's very flattering.

"At the same time, stepping on to the same court, I try not to think about that too much and try to do what I'm supposed to do."

Djokovic will next play Latvian Ernests Gulbis, who beat Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3).

Dimitrov underlines potential with emphatic win

Grigor Dimitrov

IMAGE: Grigor Dimitrov in action. Photograph: Matthew Childs/Reuters

Grigor Dimitrov gave an exhibition of his enormous talent on Thursday, striding emphatically into the third round at Wimbledon with a 6-3 6-2 6-1 win over Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis.

The 13th-seeded Bulgarian looked less like his "Baby Federer" nickname and more like the Swiss maestro all grown up as he made light work of Baghdatis, a former semi-finalist at the All England Club.

The 26-year-old, who also reached the last four in 2014, has perhaps struggled to live up to his promise as a youngster.

Yet, having reached the semis at the Australian Open earlier this year before losing to Rafa Nadal in a titanic five-set battle, he showed on a sun-baked Court Two that he has the potential and the game to trouble the established favourites.

The Bulgarian looked intensely focussed as he raced through his opening four service games conceding just two points, before breaking for a 5-3 lead and then wrapping up the first set in the next game with his third ace.

It was then a case of simply tightening his stranglehold, which he did by breaking Baghdatis in the first game of the second and again in the seventh, eventually taking the set after a behind-the-back trickshot.

Dimitrov did not have everything his own way in the third, and was forced to save seven break points, but still broke three times himself to claim an emphatic win, which he sealed with a superb diving volley after one hour and 42 minutes.

Ferrer through as Darcis becomes eighth injury withdrawal

David Ferrer

IMAGE: Spain’s David Ferrer in action. Photograph: Tony O'Brien/Reuters

Spain's David Ferrer was on court only briefly on Thursday as Wimbledon second round opponent Steve Darcis retired injured.

Ferrer, twice a quarter-finalist at the grasscourt Slam, was leading 3-0 when Belgium's Darcis cried off with a back injury.

Darcis, who once beat Rafa Nadal at Wimbledon, is the eighth player to retire in the men's singles at this year's championships.

Two players - Martin Klizan and Alexandr Dolgopolov - failed to complete their matches on Centre Court against Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer respectively on Tuesday.

Unseeded Ferrer will play either Czech Tomas Berdych or American Ryan Harrison in the third round.

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