Dominant Djokovic marches on at Wimbledon
Wimbledon top seed Novak Djokovic was near-faultless in his straight sets win against compatriot Miomir Kecmanovic on Center Court on Friday, as the Serbian ace looks to claim what would be a seventh tournament win at the All-England Club.
Djokovic, whose last Grand Slam title came at this venue a year ago, was almost eerily dominant in a first set which he won to love in just 24 minutes.
Kecmanovic, who took Djokovic's spot in the Australian Open draw after his visa woes earlier this year, managed a measure of resistance in the second and third sets but was ultimately incapable of any significant pressure, losing out 6-0, 6-3, 6-4.
And it took Djokovic just one hour and 52 minutes to achieve it.
It was the second match in a row in which Djokovic dropped just seven games en route to a straight-sets win after doing the same against Thanasi Kokkinakis earlier this week, and the type of performance which showed his title rivals at the summit of the seedings that he has arrived in London in scintillating form.
Remarkably, it was the Serb's 24th consecutive victory on grass; a winning streak which equals Rod Laver for third on the all-time list on that surface in the Open era, and his 330th all-time win in a Grand Slam match.
And if you wanted one more remarkable statistic, the victory was the Serb's 35th in a row on the famous Wimbledon Center Court.
“I started off very, very well with good intensity and focus,” Djokovic said afterwards.
“It means that I've been playing for quite a few years,” he joked when told of the win being his 330th at such a high level of the sport.
“I'm very grateful for and I feel blessed to still be able to compete at the highest level.”
Djokovic will play the Netherlands' Tim van Rijthoven in the next round, after the Dutch wildcard entrant bested Georgian number 22 seed Nikoloz Basilashvili earlier on Friday to continue his own remarkable recent form.
Van Rijthoven has won eight straight matches - including a conclusive straight sets win against Russia's Daniil Medvedev in the final of the recent Libema Open.
But if the 25-year-old Dutchman can extend his winning streak by just one, it would likely represent one of the biggest single achievements in tennis today: beating Novak Djokovic on grass.
We find out on Sunday.