Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova sizzled on a day when temperatures soared to a record high and heat became the biggest talking point at the Wimbledon Championships which is usually known for rain. Players started to feel dizzy and a ball boy collapsed as mercury touched 35.7 degrees Celsius – the highest recorded temperature ever during the Championships.
But the sweltering conditions could not bother Djokovic, Serena and Sharapova as each of them registered straight-set victories to move into the third round.
However, former Wimbledon semi-finalist Ana Ivanovic found it difficult to cope with qualifier Bethanie Mattek-Sands and fell in straight sets.
Amongst the Indians in action on Day 3, Leander Paes and Sania Mirza won their respective doubles matches while Purav Raja crashed out.
Djokovic, Wawrinka have it easy; Cilic struggles
World No. 1 and men’s defending champion Novak Djokovic eased into the third round with a 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 win over Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen who was playing his final Wimbledon. The Serbian’s conqueror at Roland Garros – Stan Wawrinka too moved into Round 3 without much fuss. The Swiss carved out a 6-3, 6-4, 7-5 victory over Dominican Republic’s Victor Estrella Burgos.
But it was a very tough day for the other reigning Grand Slam champion – US Open winner Marin Cilic. The Croat survived a scare on Centre Court as he edged past Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(6), 4-6, 7-5.
A left calf injury forced fifth seed Kei Nishikori to withdraw ahead of his second round match against Colombian Santiago Giraldo. The Japanese, who sustained the injury during the Gerry Weber Open, said he hoped it would get better but a five-setter in his first round compounded the problem.
“It got better before the first match last week. I thought it was really going to be okay. But last match in fifth set I was hurting too much,” said Nishikori.
Maria, Serena, Venus through
Fourth-seeded Maria Sharapova had a fragile serve to deal with that caused her eight double faults. But the rest of the game of the 2004 champion was perfect as she blew away Dutch qualifier Richel Hogenkamp 6-3, 6-1.
Meanwhile, the Williams sisters are now one win away from a fourth round showdown after both advanced to the third round with straight-set victories. While Serena thumped Timea Babos 6-4, 6-1, Venus had to work hard to tame Yulia Putintseva 7-6(5), 6-4.
With this win which is her 75th triumph at the All England Club, Venus surpassed Steffi Graf on the list of most Wimbledon matches won in the Open Era.
Ivanovic, Pliskova, Errani fall
Women’s seeds keep falling! Seventh seeded Ana Ivanovic, 11th seeded Karolina Pliskova and 19th seeded Sara Errani were the latest to bite the dust at the 2015 Wimbledon Championships.
Qualifier Mattek-Sands who is more known for her unique fashion statements, played a beautiful game of serve and volley with the right aggression to outsmart Ivanovic 6-3, 6-4. American Coco Vandeweghe thundered 15 aces past Karolina Pliskova to send the Czech packing with a score of 7-6(5), 6-4.
In the last match of the day, Alexandra Krunic blasted 59 winners to knock out Errani 6-3, 6-7(2), 6-2.
Other notable winners: Kyrgios sets up showdown with Raonic
Two of last year’s men’s semi-finalists – Grigor Dimitrov and Milos Raonic reached the third round. While Dimitrov eased through, Raonic needed four sets to beat 37-year-old Tommy Haas. The World No. 8 will next face Nick Kyrgios in a rematch of their 2014 quarter-final match. Other men’s players progressing were Richard Gasquet, Marcos Baghdatis, Bernard Tomic, Kevin Anderson and Fernando Verdasco.
On the women’s side, French Open runner-up Lucie Safarova breezed into the third round with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Taipei’s Su-Wei Hsieh. Eastbourne winner Belinda Bencic notched up Tour-leading 13th grass win of the season with a three-set triumph over Anna Lena Friedsam. Other ladies winners on Day 3 were Victoria Azarenka, Samantha Stosur, Andrea Petkovic, Sloane Stephens, Kristina Mladenovic and home hope Heather Watson.
Ladies doubles top seeds Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis had a comfortable start to their 2015 Wimbledon campaign as they posted a 6-2, 6-2 win over Saisai Zheng and Zarina Diyas.
Day 4 watch: Roger, Rafa, Murray play Wimbledon second round
The big stars – Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray will play their second round matches on Thursday. Amongst the ladies, Petra Kvitova and Sabine Lisicki will be in action.