Monday 24 October 2016

Novak Djokovic keeps his cool on the hottest day

Wimbledon bakes in record heat but champ marches on

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic

Down a break at 3-1 in the first set, defending champion Novak Djokovic kept his cool on the hottest day in Wimbledon history.

Running off 13 points in a row, Djokovic seized command and stayed in front the rest of the way on Centre Court as he beat Finland's Jarkko Nieminen 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 yesterday to reach the third round of Wimbledon on a sweltering day at the All England Club.

Nieminen started fast, breaking serve in the opening game and going up 3-1. But the top-ranked Djokovic won the next three games, including two at love, and never let Nieminen - playing in his final Wimbledon before retirement - back into the match.

Players wrapped ice towels around their necks during changeovers and spectators used umbrellas to block out the sun as temperatures soared to record levels at a tournament known more for rain delays. The Met Office, Britain's official weather service, said temperatures reached 35.7 degrees C at Kew Gardens, the closest observation site to the All England Club.The previous record was 34.6 C (94.3 F) in the summer of 1976.

Djokovic's next opponent round, Australian Bernard Tomic, will be hoping the weather eases for their Friday showdown after complaining it was "too hot".

"I was starting to get dizzy out there with the heat hitting me," Tomic said after beating Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert 7-6(3) 6-4 7-6(5).

The men's field lost one of its top players when fifth-seeded Kei Nishikori withdrew before his scheduled Centre Court meeting with Santiago Giraldo of Colombia because of an injury to his left calf.

In one of the tightest matches of the day, No. 9 Marin Cilic - the 2014 US Open champion - needed more than 3 1/2 hours to overcome 90th-ranked Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (6), 4-6, 7-5.

Cilic will next face John Isner.

Seventh-seeded Milos Raonic served 29 aces and held off Germany's Tommy Haas 6-0, 6-2, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (4).

Stan Wawrinka moved seamlessly into the third round, wasting little energy to secure a 6-3 6-4 7-5 win over Victor Estrella Burgos in the evening sunshine on Court One.

The French Open champion strolled off court after a volleyed put-away clinched victory in an hour and 31 minutes.

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