Novak Djokovic of Serbia prepares to hit a forehand during his second-round match against Jordan Thompson of Australia at the Wimbledon Championships, Wimbledon, Britain, on 5 July 2023. Djokovic won 6-3, 7-6 (7-4), 7-5. EFE/EPA/NEIL HALL EDITORIAL USE ONLY

Djokovic, other top seeds roll at Wimbledon; Tsitsipas survives marathon

London, July 5 (EFE).- Seven-time champion Novak Djokovic moved into the third round of Wimbledon with another straight-set victory on Wednesday, while Polish world No. 1 Iga Swiatek and third-seeded Russian Daniil Medvedev both advanced further in the draw without significant complications.

World No. 1 Iga Swiatek of Poland hits a backhand during her women's singles second-round match against Sara Sorribes Tormo of Spain at the Wimbledon Championships, Wimbledon, Britain, on 5 July 2023. Swiatek won 6-2, 6-0. EFE/EPA/NEIL HALL/EDITORIAL USE ONLY

In the day’s final match on Centre Court, the second-seeded Djokovic appeared headed toward a lopsided victory over Australia’s Jordan Thompson when he clinched the opening set in a half hour with a volley that clipped the top of the net and bounced twice well short of the baseline.

Russian No. 3 seed Daniil Medvedev celebrates after winning his men's singles first-round match against Arthur Fery of Britain at the Wimbledon Championships, Wimbledon, Britain, on 5 July 2023. Medvedev won 7-5, 6-4, 6-3. EFE/EPA/ISABEL INFANTES EDITORIAL USE ONLY

But buoyed by strong serving, Thompson put up a much tougher fight in the second set.

Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece prepares to hit a forehand volley during his men's singles first-round match against Dominic Thiem of Austria at the Wimbledon Championships, Wimbledon, Britain, on 5 July 2023. Tsitsipas won 3-6, 7-6 (7-1), 6-2, 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (10-8). EFE/EPA/ADAM VAUGHAN EDITORIAL USE ONLY

He fended off break points in the fifth and seventh games and even applied some pressure on the Serbian great’s serve late in the set.

As he nearly always does, however, Djokovic saved his best level for the key points and wrapped up the second set in 65 minutes in a tiebreaker with his seventh ace of the match.

The third set was also closely contested, with Thompson’s outstanding serving once again allowing him to stay close before Djokovic rose to the occasion on the big points.

Although the crowd tried to will the Australian to another tiebreaker, Djokovic’s defense forced a volley error by his opponent on match point to seal a 6-3, 7-6 (7-4), 7-5 victory.

“Congratulations to him. He played a great match,” Djokovic said afterward about an opponent who served 21 aces and only lost serve twice against arguably the greatest returner of all time. “I like to be tested, but I don’t really know whether I wanted to meet him this early in the tournament.”

Earlier in the day, Swiatek showed more signs of her grass-court development with a second-consecutive straight-set victory at this year’s Wimbledon – a 6-2, 6-0 rout of Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo.

Feeling comfortable on court against a player who lacks a big weapon, the Polish top seed showcased her devastating forehand and potent two-handed backhand and also looked nearly as much at ease moving on grass as she does on her beloved clay.

“It’s my first match on Centre Court. I really wanted to keep my focus. I’m happy I could play such a solid game and convert what I was practicing. I feel confident and happy, which doesn’t happen often at Wimbledon,” said the 22-year-old Swiatek, who was upset in the third round of last year’s tournament by France’s Alize Cornet and has never reached the quarterfinals of tennis’ grass-court Grand Slam.

On the No. 1 Court, Medvedev got off to a solid start at a tournament where he has yet to advance beyond the fourth round in four previous appearances and was controversially barred from playing last year – along with all Russian and Belarusian players – in response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Employing his trademark return tactic of standing several meters behind the baseline, Medvedev consistently threatened the serve of unheralded and diminutive Brit Arthur Fery in first-round action.

For the match, the Russian won 45 percent of his opponent’s serve points and secured six service breaks (two in each set) en route to a 7-5, 6-4, 6-3 victory.

But while most of the other high-ranked players had relatively routine days at the office, fifth-seeded Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas, this year’s Australian Open runner-up, was taken to a fifth-set tiebreaker before finally prevailing over 2020 US Open champion Dominic Thiem.

In their rain-interrupted, first-round match that began on Tuesday, Thiem was leading 6-3, 3-4 when the players returned to the court on Wednesday.

Tsitsipas appeared to take control by grabbing sets two and three, but Thiem matched his opponent service game for service game in the fourth set before thrilling the crowd by capturing the tiebreaker and forcing a decider.

With neither player able to secure a service break over the final two sets, Tsitsipas managed to eke out a 3-6, 7-6 (7-1), 6-2, 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (10-8) victory by winning the super tiebreaker and book a much-anticipated second-round clash against British two-time champion Andy Murray.

“Obviously, I’m very happy it went my way. Dominic is someone who has brought the best out of me every time we’ve had the opportunity to play each other. It was quite frustrating at the same time,” Tsitsipas said afterward.

“But this is tennis. We fought hard today. We put on a show. Dominic is a tough competitor. I wish him all the best in the future.”

In other men’s singles action on Wednesday, eighth-seeded Italian Jannik Sinner reached the third round by brushing aside Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman 7-5, 6-1, 6-2 and ninth-seeded American Taylor Fritz outlasted Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann 6-4, 2-6, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 in first-round action.

In a mild upset in the women’s draw, eighth-seeded Maria Sakkari of Greece fell to Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk 0-6, 7-5, 6-2 in the first round. EFE