World number one Djokovic chased a sixth Wimbledon title and a record-breaking 20th Grand Slam title, winning 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 against the 102nd South African.
London: Andy Murray turned back the years to stage an exciting Wimbledon fight on Wednesday when defending champion Novak Djokovic played almost flawless tennis to reach the third round for the 15th time.
Murray, the 2013 and 2016 champions, fought his way back under the umbrella of Center Court to beat German qualifier Oscar Otte 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.
The British star, who played in the individual tournament for the first time since 2017 and ranked 118th after hip and groin injuries, avoided his earliest exit from the tournament.
“What an atmosphere you can play in at the end of the day,” said the 34-year-old Murray after beating his opponent in 151st place.
“I needed everyone’s help tonight. I did a great job, got some top shots in the end, but it was a tough game.”
Murray, who was the last player to slip and fall on center court, will face tenth seeded Canadian Denis Shapovalov for a place in the round of 16.
The number one in the world, Djokovic, chased a sixth Wimbledon and a record-breaking 20th Grand Slam title and won 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 against the 102nd-placed Kevin Anderson from South Africa.
He fell at least five times on center court the day after Serena Williams suffered a tearful injury at the end of the tournament due to similar slips.
34-year-old Djokovic triumphed over the man he defeated in the 2018 final without hitting a single breaking point and making only six casual mistakes.
“I have a good connection with the crowd,” said Djokovic.
“I seem to have a really good connection with the lawn too. I can’t remember falling so many times in the first two games at Wimbledon.”
Australian arsonist Nick Kyrgios, ranked 60th but quarter-finalist on debut in 2014, won his first match since the Australian Open in February, defeating Frenchman Ugo Humbert, 21st seed, before declaring “Not bad for a part-time player”.
Kyrgios triumphed 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-1, 9-7 in a game that was postponed from Tuesday night when the final set was equalized 3-3.
“Ugo is an incredible kid and I knew I was a massive underdog,” said Kyrgios after shooting 23 aces and 51 winners behind the Halle champions.
Kyrgios also shook off an ugly looking fall in game 13 of the last set when his right knee buckled under him.
On Tuesday he was heard muttering that Court One was “a joke”.
When the tournament caught up after two days in the rain, allegations about the condition of the All England Club courts continued.
Williams said she was “heartbroken” that she had to retire when her pursuit of the record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles was again thwarted by Margaret Court.
Her fall did not come long after French player Adrian Mannarino slipped and injured himself on the same spot on Center Court on Tuesday.
He too had to give up his match against Roger Federer for two sets each.
Despite the criticism, the All England Club insisted that the dishes be up to standard.
“The preparation of the grass pitches corresponds exactly to the same meticulous standard as in previous years,” said a statement from the club.
“The grass plant is the most lush and greenest, which leads to additional moisture on a natural surface.”
The fourth seed Sofia Kenin was eliminated in the second round and lost 6: 2, 6: 4 against her American Madison Brengle.
Kenin was ruined by 41 unforced mistakes as Brengle took his first top 10 win in four years at 82nd place.
The fifth seeded Bianca Andreescu from Canada was also eliminated in the first round 6: 2, 6: 1 against the French woman Alize Cornet.
Andreescu, the 2019 US Open Champion, has yet to win a main draw match at Wimbledon after losing as a qualifier in the first round in 2017.
100 wins for Nishikori
The Italian Matteo Berrettini, who was seeded seventh, who gave the champions at Queen’s and Wimbledon the tip to go deeper, defeated the Argentine Guido Pella with 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 6-0.
Japanese Kei Nishikori, a two-time quarter-finalist, took his 100th Grand Slam match win by beating Australian Alexei Popyrin 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.
Spanish wildcard Carlos Alcaraz, the youngest player in the men’s draw, made his debut with a 6-3, 6-7 (4/7), 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 win over Yasutaka Uchiyama.
The 18-year-old faces second place in Russia, Daniil Medvedev, for a final 32nd place.
The second-placed Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka defeated the British wildcard Katie Boulter, who was in 219th place, with 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 and reached the third round.
Ukrainian third-placed Elina Svitolina, a 2018 semi-finalist, defeated Belgium’s Alison Van Uytvanck 6-3, 2-6, 6-3.
Venus Williams, the 41-year-old five-time winner, was beaten in straight sets by Ons Jabuer in the second round.
Jabeur is the first Tunisian ever to reach the third round at Wimbledon.