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Wawrinka sets up Djokovic clash as Wimbledon clears backlog

Swiss tennis player Stan Wawrinka
Stan Wawrinka. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Swiss veteran Stan Wawrinka displayed vintage form at Wimbledon to book a third-round clash with holder Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev won a rain-delayed opener as the grass court Grand Slam cleared its backlog.

The 38-year-old Wawrinka, winner of three Grand Slam titles and twice a Wimbledon quarter-finalist, knocked out 29th seed Tomas Martin Etcheverry 6-3 4-6 6-4 6-2.

His reward was a first meeting on grass with Djokovic who has beaten him in 20 of their 26 clashes.

"There's zero opportunity to win Wimbledon for me, I think. I'm happy to have won today again. It was great match. It's an honour to play Novak here," Wawrinka said.

"I was missing that in my career to play him in the Grand Slam in Wimbledon. Hopefully, I can make a competitive match, but if you will look at recent results, I don't really stand a chance."

Persistent rain on the first three days of the year's third major meant organisers were left with little chance of finishing matches on schedule and former world number two Zverev took to the court for his first-round clash only on Thursday.

His 6-4 7-6(4) 7-6(5) win over Dutch qualifier Gijs Brouwer - helped by 20 booming aces - meant the All England Club was finally done with all its singles opening round fixtures shortly after 3 pm local time.

Former runner-up Matteo Berrettini was also among those who moved into the second round as the Italian recovered from a slow start to his match that began on Tuesday to defeat compatriot Lorenzo Sonego 6-7(5) 6-3 7-6(7) 6-3.

It was a memorable day for Andrey Rublev who overcame fellow Russian Aslan Karatsev 6-7(4) 6-3 6-4 7-5 to bag his 50th Grand Slam match victory and move into the third round.

Former semi-finalist Elina Svitolina continued her fine run after her maternity break as the wildcard from Ukraine shook off a mid-match wobble to down 28th seed Elise Mertens 6-1 1-6 6-1.

She set up an intriguing clash with American Sofia Kenin after the former major champion eased past China's Wang Xinyu 6-4 6-3.

Russian 16-year-old Mirra Andreeva - who burst onto the scene in Madrid this year - advanced to the third round on her Wimbledon main draw debut after 10th seed Barbora Krejcikova quit their clash due to injury while trailing 6-3 4-0.

Estonian Anett Kontaveit, who reached a career-high number two last year, lost to Marie Bouzkova 6-1 6-2 in her final match before she retires from the sport.