LONDON – Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic had to play all three sets at Wimbledon this time.
The former champions both advanced to the third round on Thursday, two days after their opening matches ended early when their opponents retired with an injury.
Federer was broken early in his match, but the seven-time champion recovered quickly and beat Dusan Lajovic 7-6 (7-0), 6-3, 6-2. Djokovic, a three-time champion, defeated Adam Pavlasek 6-2, 6-2, 6-1.
Djokovic won the Wimbledon title in 2011, ’14 and ’15. But he has not won a major title since completing a career Grand Slam at the 2016 French Open.
In his opening two matches at the All England Club, Djokovic has only lost eight games.
“It’s perfect. Exactly what I want,” Djokovic said. “I don’t want to have any five-set matches in there.”
Djokovic will next face Ernests Gulbis. The unseeded Latvian defeated Juan Martin del Potro 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (3).
Federer has lost 14 games so far and will next face 27th-seeded Mischa Zverev.
Milos Raonic, Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev, Grigor Dimitrov, Gael Monfils and David Ferrer also reached the third round. Ferrer advanced when opponent Steve Darcis retired with an injury while trailing 3-0.
Darcis is the eighth man to retire during a match this week. The Belgian took a medical timeout after 18 minutes of play and was unable to continue.
Yuichi Sugita pushed his second-round match to five sets but ultimately fell 6-1, 5-7, 4-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-2 to world No. 51 Adrian Mannarino of France in a contest lasting over three and a half hours.
The 28-year-old Sugita, currently ranked 44th, was coming off a win against the same opponent last week in the final of the Antalya Open in Turkey, where the Sendai native captured his first title.
Had he prevailed at the All England Club, Sugita would have advanced to the third round of a Grand Slam event for the first time in his career.
One of the favorites in the women’s tournament, third-seeded Karolina Pliskova, lost on Centre Court. Magdalena Rybarikova beat Pliskova 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 to reach the third round for the second time in 10 appearances.
Pliskova entered the tournament with a chance to take over the No. 1 ranking.
“My expectations were a little bit different than to make one round here,” Pliskova said. “That’s tennis, you know. Still, you still can play well and you don’t have to win. That’s my case today.”
Top-seeded Angelique Kerber also advanced to the third round, along with seventh-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova, ninth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska, 14th-seeded Garbine Muguruza and 24th-seeded CoCo Vandeweghe.
Also, American wild-card entry Bethanie Mattek-Sands injured her right knee during a point and retired from her second-round match.
Moving up toward the net in the opening game of the third set against Sorana Cirstea of Romania, Mattek-Sands slipped and fell. She immediately clutched her right knee. She could be heard screaming in pain and sobbing.
In women’s doubles, Japan’s Misaki Doi and partner Chuang Chia-jung of Taiwan advanced to the second round with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Oksana Kalashnikova of Georgia and Italy’s Francesca Schiavone.
Two players previously eliminated from the tournament were handed fines on Thursday.
Bernard Tomic of Australia was fined $15,000 for unsportsmanlike conduct two days after he spoke about feeling “a little bit bored out there” during his match.
Daniil Medvedev of Russia, who threw a handful coins in the direction of the chair umpire after a second-round loss on Wednesday, was given three fines totaling $14,500.
McEnroe makes comparison
Try as they might, the reporters grilling Novak Djokovic couldn’t get the three-time Wimbledon champion to criticize John McEnroe for comparing him to Tiger Woods.
McEnroe, himself a three-time champion at the All England Club, said on the BBC that Djokovic was “distracted” and the person who comes to mind in similar circumstances “is not a tennis player, it’s actually a golfer: Tiger Woods.”
Djokovic was asked about those comments several times at Wimbledon on Thursday after reaching the third round.
“I really don’t take anything personal. I always got along very well with John,” Djokovic said. “You know, I guess whether that’s his opinion or criticism or something else, I’m not really sure. But in the end of the day, I respect everything he says.”
Woods won 14 major golf titles but has not won since divorcing his wife. He said last month he was receiving professional help “to manage my medications.” That came a few weeks after he was charged with driving under the influence after police in Florida found him asleep at the wheel of his car at about 2 a.m.
McEnroe said: “Woods had the issues with his wife and then he seemed to go completely off the rails and has never been even close to being the same player.”
Djokovic won the last of his 12 majors at the 2016 French Open — his fourth Grand Slam title in a row. He has one child with his wife, Jelena.
“I really don’t take it in a negative way anyhow. It’s fine,” Djokovic said. “He has his right to say the things he wants to say. I don’t necessarily need to agree with that. But it’s his right. “So I don’t know where was the basis, and he was just maybe making a comparison. I’m not really sure.”
Djokovic did posit a theory, however.
“When I was warming up for my first match on the Centre Court, he was giving an intro, talking to the camera, and I served and the serve went straight at him as I was playing,” Djokovic said. “I don’t know. Maybe it’s because of that. Maybe he thought it wasn’t a joke, and I was joking.”