Seven-times Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic eased concerns about his knee with a clinical performance to dismantle Czech qualifier Vit Kopriva 6-1 6-2 6-2 on Tuesday and reach the second round.

Novak Djokovic celebrates winning against Czech Republic’s Vit Kopriva during their men’s singles tennis match on the second day of the 2024 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 2, 2024.(AFP)

Playing with a support on his right leg following a minor operation less than four weeks ago after a meniscus tear ended his French Open, the 37-year-old never faced a break point and needed a little less than two hours to prevail.

“I tried to really focus on the game and not think about the knee too much. Everything that I could do, I have done over the last three weeks along with my team to be able to play here for you today,” Djokovic said.

“If it was for any other tournament I probably would not have risked it, would not have rushed as much, but I just love Wimbledon, love coming back here.

“I want to thank my surgeon again for doing a great job. Things would be a bit complicated (without successful surgery) to be able to play on the highest level and avoid major injuries has been good.

“I’ve been fortunate to not be away from the tennis for so long.”

The Serb, searching for a record 25th Grand Slam title to end his title drought this year, broke on his sixth attempt in a marathon fourth game and breezed through the opening set under the Centre Court roof before heaping more pressure on Kopriva.

He let out a big roar having grabbed another break in the second set after a 21-shot rally and used it as a springboard to double his advantage in the match, as the 123rd-ranked Kopriva struggled to keep pace with last year’s runner-up.

The Wimbledon main draw debutant offered resistance early in the third set but was unable to subdue second seed Djokovic, who shifted up another gear to run away with the match.

Zverev storms into next round

Fourth seed Alexander Zverev eased to a 6-2 6-4 6-2 victory over Roberto Carballes Baena in the first round of Wimbledon on Tuesday to get his latest bid for a maiden Grand Slam triumph up and running.

The German came up against a spirited Carballes Baena, who is 60 places below him in the world rankings, but his powerful serve and whipped forehand sent him through in straight sets.

A nervy Carballes Baena had to save three break points in the first game of the match but recovered to hold. The 31-year-old sent a backhand long in the fifth game to give Zverev the break and the German broke once more before wrapping up the set in little more than 30 minutes.

Carballes Baena battled under the closed roof of Court One but had no answer to Zverev’s serve which averaged around 125 mph (200 kph) and produced 18 aces.

The Spaniard was broken in the fifth game after a rally in which Zverev had Carballes Baena sprinting from one end of the court to the other.

Another battle to stay on serve woke up the crowd who tried to cheer on the underdog, but they could not prevent Zverev from closing out the set.

Zverev, runner-up at the French Open last month, broke straight away in the third but then had to save three break points as Carballes Baena increased his attacks. However, that just opened the door for Zverev to race ahead and seal the win.

The 27-year-old has never gone past the fourth round at Wimbledon – his worst record at a Grand Slam. However, he is hoping that the stars are aligning for him this time around.

“I’ve struggled over the years on these beautiful courts, unfortunately, but I feel different this year, somehow much more into it and more alive on these courts. Hopefully I can show that in the next few matches,” Zverev said on court.

“For some reason, very early in my career I decided that I hate grass courts, then for some reasons this year, I decided that I love them. That is the biggest change.

“I also feel this is the most open Wimbledon in 20-plus years. We had great champions like (Roger) Federer, (Rafael) Nadal, (Novak) Djokovic, (Andy) Murray and it was always between them.

“It is much more open this year, if somebody has two great weeks then they can do great things. I hope, for once, it is going to be me.”

Men

1st rd

Ben Shelton (USA x14) bt Mattia Bellucci (ITA) 4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4

Francisco Comesana (ARG) bt Andrey Rublev (RUS x6) 6-4, 5-7, 6-2, 7-6 (7/5)

Luciano Darderi (ITA) bt Jan Choinski (GBR) 7-5, 4-6, 2-6, 7-5, 6-2

Lorenzo Musetti (ITA x25) bt Constant Lestienne (FRA) 4-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2, 6-2

Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard (FRA) bt Sebastian Korda (USA x20) 7-6 (7/5), 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (8/6), 6-7 (4/7), 6-3

Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN) bt Nuno Borges (POR) 6-2, 7-6 (8/6), 2-6, 6-3

Alexander Zverev (GER x4) bt Roberto Carballes Baena (ESP) 6-2, 6-4, 6-2

Hubert Hurkacz (POL x7) bt Radu Albot (MDA) 5-7, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4

Jaume Munar (ESP) bt Billy Harris (GBR) 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3

Alex De Minaur (AUS x9) bt James Duckworth (AUS) 7-6 (7/1), 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (7/4)

Tomas Etcheverry (ARG x30) bt Luca Nardi (ITA) 6-1, 6-4, 6-2

Alexei Popyrin (AUS) bt Thiago Monteiro (BRA) 6-4, 6-7 (8/10), 6-3, 6-4

Novak Djokovic (SRB x2) bt Vít Kopriva (CZE) 6-1, 6-2, 6-2

Women

1st rd

Cristina Bucsa (ESP) bt Ana Bogdan (ROM) 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (10/5)

Jessica Bouzas Maneiro (ESP) bt Marketa Vondrousova (CZE x6) 6-4, 6-2

Elena Rybakina (KAZ x4) bt Elena-Gabriela Ruse (ROM) 6-3, 6-1

Laura Siegemund (GER) bt Kateryna Baindl (UKR) 6-4, 6-1

Harriet Dart (GBR) bt Bai Zhuoxuan (CHN) 6-4, 6-0

Wang Xinyu (CHN) bt Viktoriya Tomova (BUL) 7-6 (7/4), 3-6, 6-0

Jessica Pegula (USA x5) bt Ashlyn Krueger (USA) 6-2, 6-0