Novak Djokovic ends American interest in the men's singles when beating Bobby Reynolds
Reynolds defeat means no American male is in the third round for first time in a century
Juan Martin del Potro, Tomas Berdych and Richard Gasquet all advance
For 101 years, an American male had always reached the third round of the men’s singles at Wimbledon but that proud run ended on Thursday as Novak Djokovic summarily dismissed Bobby Reynolds.
Eleven men from the United States started at the grand slam on Monday but a 30-year qualifier ranked 156th in the world was left to fly the flag after the early departures of seeded duo John Isner and Sam Querrey among others.
Finishing their match under the Center Court roof, called into action for the first time this year after rain ended play early on most courts, Serbia’s Djokovic was in no mood to join former champions Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in making early exits.
The winner of six grand slams, one of which came at Wimbledon in 2011, had to work hard to take the first set but found the going easier after the roof came on, triumphing 7-6 6-3 6-1.
“I think the fact that the top players lost in the last few days gives enough reason for all of us to not underestimate any opponent and not look that far,” the world No. 1 told reporters.
“So we got to take it step by step. It’s sport, you know. This is what happens.”
“All the lower-ranked players have extra motivation and nothing to lose. So I needed to be extra careful and with the roof closed, it was a little different.”
Reynolds, meanwhile, believes the failure of an American male to reach the third round for the first time since 1912 will only be a temporary blip.
“There are young college players, but I think they have a lot of potential. Maybe, just a couple of years hopefully, a good one’s coming,” said Reynolds.
Two of the higher-profile American men to exit Wimbledon in the second round included 21st seed Sam Querrey, who lost in five sets to Bernard Tomic, and John Isner, for whom the lower half of the draw had opened up after the defeats to Federer and Nadal.
Involved in the longest clash in tennis history, when beating Frenchman Nicolas Mahut in a match that lasted 11 hours and five minutes, Isner took part in one of the shortest when withdrawing after just 15 minutes against Adrian Mannarino because of a knee problem.
The 18th seed was one of seven withdrawals through injury on Wednesday, and another two followed on Thursday – as French players Michael Llodra and Paul-Henri Mathieu took the record tally of pull-outs to nine.
Llodra attracted criticism by returning to the courts later in the day to play a doubles match with fellow Frenchman Mahut – only for the pair’s opponents Jaroslav Levinsky and Jan Hajek to also withdraw after the latter complained of a back problem.
One of Thursday’s most exciting matches failed to reach a conclusion as Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov, the boyfriend of Maria Sharapova, trailed Grega Zemlja of Slovenia 9-8 in a fifth set that was suspended because of rain.
The winner will play Juan Martin del Potro after the Argentine saw off Canadian left-hander Jesse Levine.
“I’m trying to go far, but all the matches are difficult,” said the eighth seed.
“You can see all players can beat the top guys. Tennis is in a very high level at the moment. I’m going match by match and just focusing on my next round.
“I like to play on grass and would like to stay alive a few more days.”
2010 runner-up Tomas Berdych and Richard Gasquet also advanced, as did Bernard Tomic who beat veteran James Blake on a forgettable day for American male tennis.
World number one Serena Williams ensured that the United States’ female representation stays strong after she powered into the third round when beating French qualifier Caroline Garcia.