The recent Roland Garros finalist and the top seed at Wimbledon 2014 Novak Djokovic battled past Radek Stepanek in three hours and twenty minutes to reach the round of 32 and improve the head-to-lead against the Czech veteran to 11-1. Novak struggled to influence the second round match and needed to rescue a double break point at 4-4 in the opener before closing out the set on the opponent’s serve in the follow-up game. The set two was more straightforward with the favorite breaking to make it 4-2 and going on to extend the lead rather easily. However, Stepanek did not drop his head as he pushed Nole to the tie-break in the following set and win it from 5-2 down. Another breaker would be played in the fourth set and this time Djokovic wrapped up the proceedings by converting the match point number one. The Wimbledon 2011 title holder won 6-4, 6-3, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (5) to set up a clash against unseeded Frenchman Gilles Simon.
“I’m just happy to have spent this amount of time on the court, to play a lot of rallies, to return and to serve,” said Djokovic. Physically I feel fine. This can just help me mentally for the [remainder] of the event.”
The highest-ranked Czech Tomas Berdych also progressed in four sets after turning around the encounter with Bernard Tomic. The World no. 86 Australian broke in the fifth game of the opener and saved three break back points before going one set up. The 2010 finalist replied by clinching two consecutive tie-breaks to get his nose in front and brushed aside the demoralized rival in the fourth set to complete a comeback for a 4-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3), 6-1 victory. He will now face 26th-seeded Croat Marin Cilic who, likewise, rallied from a set behind to defeat Andreas Haider-Maurer of Austria 3-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-4.
Seed number eight Milos Raonic cruised through the clash versus the 21-year-old American Jack Sock. The strong-serving Canadian was not confronted with any break points over the course of three sets, whilst he grabbed a break in each of them before serving out the match with a hold to love. He advanced by winning 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 and is set to meet Poland’s Lukasz Kubot next.