Novak Djokovic will open Centre Court on Day 3 of the tournament in what has ended up being a repeat of the schedule from Monday. This time round he will play Thanasi Kokkinakis, who is in a Wimbledon second round for the first time in his career. Djokovic’s title chances look further improved with the tournament exits of Hubert Hurkacz and Matteo Berrettini, with the latter out due to a positive COVID test.
Kokkinakis is finally feeling the benefit of a long run of matches and should improve on his career high of 69 sooner rather than later. He hit 17 aces in a strong straight sets win over Kamil Majchrzak to end a three match losing streak across two surfaces. 2022 is already the the second highest season for the Aussie in terms of matches at tour level and only bad luck should see him fail to break the number reached during his breakthrough season of 2015.
While far from his best in a four set win over Kwon Soonwoo, Djokovic was rarely put in trouble during 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-4 win as his consistency proved too much in the end. “I think it was a good win against a player who is very talented. He has a lot of quality from both the forehand and backhand corner. I did not start or play at my best, but I think when I needed to find the right shots, I did. I think my serve got me out of trouble in some decisive moments. I know I can do better.” he said afterwards.
Djokovic’s opening round win here means he now has 80 wins at each of the slams, a feat yet to be matched. Kokkinakis may be able to hang tough for a while against the top seed but in the end, he is likely to be outworked and outdefended. While not thought of as someone dominant on serve, the Serbian has added that as an additional weapon. He hit 15 aces in the win over Soonwoo and keeping that level up will make things so much tougher for any opponent.
Prediction – Novak Djokovic in straight sets