Djokovic sets up possible Edmund match as Nadal also progresses

  • Posted: Jul 05, 2018
Wimbledon 2018 on the BBC
Venue: All England Club, Wimbledon Dates: 2-15 July
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Novak Djokovic set up a potential third-round meeting with Britain’s Kyle Edmund at Wimbledon with a clinical 6-1 6-2 6-3 victory over Horacio Zeballos.

The three-time champion is joined in the next round by world number one Rafael Nadal, who was made to work in a 6-4 6-3 6-4 win over Mikhail Kukushkin.

British number one Edmund faces American Bradley Klahn later on Thursday.

Nadal will play Alex de Minaur for a place in the fourth round.

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Nadal tested by Kukushkin

While the final result goes down as a straight-sets victory, this was far from simple.

Kukushkin, who beat British number one Kyle Edmund in the Eastbourne quarter-finals last week, showed he meant business from the opening game with his powerful forehand that seemed to take both Nadal and the packed Centre Court by surprise.

When his big shot worked, it was exquisite – he made 28 winners, nine more than Nadal, with most of them on his forehand.

But his 34 unforced errors meant he never really had a chance against the 17-time Grand Slam champion.

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After wrapping up the first set when the Kazakh netted a forehand, Nadal was more ruthless in the second where he lost just four points on his serve.

But Kukushkin, who is coached by his wife, just would not give up and in the third went a break up for 3-1 before dropping serve in the next game.

He eventually succumbed to the inevitable when his forehand clipped the top of the net and bounced back to his own side as the crowd got to their feet to give the players a standing ovation.

Nadal marches into the fourth round but Kukushkin goes home £63,000 better off and with a lot of new fans.

Djokovic wins despite thigh problem

It was far more straightforward for Djokovic against world number 126 Zeballos, with the main problem for the Serb coming at the end of the seventh game of the third set when he had the trainer on for lengthy treatment on his left thigh.

Former world number one Djokovic, who has slipped to 21st in the rankings after time out with an elbow injury, delivered an impressive 15 aces and 31 winners against the Argentine.

Zeballos, who was appearing in the Wimbledon second round for the first time, had little to offer in attack and failed to convert any of his three break points.

It is the 60th match Djokovic has won at Wimbledon, taking him one ahead of John McEnroe, and continues his recent return to form since pulling out of his quarter-final here last year with an elbow problem.

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