Coco Gauff continued her magical debut at Wimbledon on Wednesday, when she became the youngest player since 1991 to reach the third round when defending champion Novak Djokovic reached the last 32 for the eleventh consecutive year.
Gauff, only 15 years old and who had to go through qualifying, had already surprised five-time champion Venus Williams in the first round.
She proved that it was not a coincidence since the number 313 of the world defeated 2017 semifinalist Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia 6-3, 6-3 under the new roof of Court One.
The American schoolgirl is the youngest player in the last 32 years since Jennifer Capriati, also 15, reached the semifinals 28 years ago. “I played well, especially at the pressure points,” said Gauff.
“I’m still surprised to be here, I think I can beat anyone, if I do not think I can win the game, then I’m not even going to the court.”
Djokovic, four times champion and world number one, connected 13 aces and 37 winners when he beat Denis Kudla of the United States, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.
“I’m satisfied with my game in general, there were some moments in the game where maybe I could have done better,” said the defending champion.
“But in general, a solid performance.”
Djokovic faces Hubert Hurkacz for a place in the last 16 defeating the Pole in straight sets in the first round at Roland Garros in May.
The victory in that match could see him face the Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime, 18, the youngest man in the draw.
The nineteenth favorite eliminated French qualifier Corentin Moutet 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 to make the third round of a Slam for the first time.
Last year’s finalist, Kevin Anderson, South Africa’s fourth seed, also advanced with a 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 6-1, 6-4 win over Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia.
Stan Wawrinka, the three times main winner, fell in five sets to 6 feet and 11 inches (2.1 m) from Reilly Opelka.
Wawrinka, 34, a two-time finalist, was defeated 7-5, 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 8-6 by his American opponent, the tallest man in the sport and 13 years younger than him.
Opelika made 23 aces and 59 winners and faces runner-up 2016 Milos Raonic of Canada.
Opelika will appear in the third round in a Slam for the first time, as he never won a game on the grass court in his career before coming to Wimbledon.
Wawrinka earned a hearty applause for giving a warm hug to a line judge after accidentally crashing into her as she ran to hit a backhand.
“I was a little far away to return a service, I think I went against her, so I was sure she had some pain and I was not happy, so I gave her a little hug,” said the great Swiss.
Also feeling the pain was the Russian Margarita Gasparyan, who was forced to retire when she was only two points away from the victory against Ukraine’s eighth seed, Elina Svitolina.
The number 62 in the world, Gasparyan, was 7-5, 5-4 ahead when he collapsed on the third floor, suffering from colic.
Although she tried valiantly to continue, the Russian, who has undergone three knee surgeries in her career, was forced to resign.
‘Unfortunate for her’
“It surprised me a little, it’s never nice to have this when someone is injured like that,” said Svitolina, who faces Italy’s Maria Sakkari for a place in the last 16 years.
“It’s really unfortunate for her.”
The Spanish veteran Fernando Verdasco organized the comeback of the day when he recovered from two sets and 3-0 to beat the British number one Kyle Edmund 4-6, 4-6, 7-6 (7/3), 6-3, 6 -4.
Karolina Pliskova, the Czech third seed, reached the last 32 with a 6-0, 6-4 win over Puerto Rico Olympic champion Monica Puig.
Pliskova, one of four players who could end Wimbledon as world number one, will face Hsieh Su-Wei of Taiwan for a place in the fourth round.
Victoria Azarenka, former world champion number one and double of the Australian Open, swept Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic 6-2, 6-0.
Azarenka, now 40 years old, was a semifinalist at the All England Club in 2011 and 2012.
The following is a clash of the last 32 with the world number one partner, Simona Halep, who defeated compatriot Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-3, 4-6, 6-2.
“We had very difficult games in the past,” said Halep, who defeated Azarenka at Wimbledon in 2017.