Problems mount for Wimbledon, but Djokovic and Swiatek serene

Serbia's Novak Djokovic shakes hands with Australia's Jordan Thompson after winning his second round match of the 2023 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on 5 July 2023.

Climate change protesters and yet more rain snagged Wimbledon on Wednesday but while security and scheduling headaches intensified for the organisers reigning men's champion Novak Djokovic moved serenely through to the third round.

Djokovic bagged his 350th Grand Slam victory with a 6-3 7-6(4) 7-5 defeat of Australia's Jordan Thompson and women's top seed Iga Swiatek also cruised into the third round.

But elsewhere the picture was more chaotic as hopes of completing an astonishing 87 singles matches, after Tuesday's near wash-out, became impossible after heavy rain showers interrupted the early part of the day.

A total of 21 matches were cancelled and by the end of the day, 10 men's and seven women's first round matches were either yet to even start or were unfinished.

While Djokovic and Swiatek are sitting comfortably in the third round, the likes of Germany's Alexander Zverev, the men's 19th seed, and women's 16th seed Karolina Muchova are yet to even strike a ball in anger.

On top of the fickle weather, that comes after Britain enjoyed its hottest June on record, the much-anticipated Just Stop Oil protests finally arrived.

Twice on Court 18, activists interrupted play, running on to the court and sprinkling ticker-tape and, bizarrely, jigsaw puzzle pieces contained in souvenir 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle boxes, over the lush grass.

The first incident occurred during Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov's victory over Japan's Sho Shimabukuro while the following match involving Britain's Katie Boulter and Australian Daria Saville was also briefly halted.

Security staff dealt with both incidents quickly and there was no damage to the court. The Metropolitan Police said three protesters had been arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass and criminal damage.

'Not pleasant'

Former semi-finalist Dimitrov later said that Wimbledon's beefed up security arrangements were adequate.

"Obviously, it's not pleasant. In the end of the day there is not much you can do. I think everyone in a way did their part as quick as possible," the he told reporters.

"I thought everything was just handled good."

Djokovic had no such concerns as he maintained his pursuit of a record-equalling eighth Wimbledon title and a 24th Grand Slam singles title to equal the record of Margaret Court.

Next up could be Stan Wawrinka, the man who beat him in the French Open final eight years ago or Argentina's 29th seed Tomas Etcheverry. Their match was one of the day's casualties.

Poland's 22-year-old top seed Swiatek has already won four Grand Slams but Wimbledon has been complicated up until now.

However, after outclassing Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-2 6-0 on Centre Court she looks in the mood for a title tilt.

Poland's Iga Swiatek shakes hands with Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo after winning her second round match of the 2023 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on 5 July 2023.

"I'm happy that I can play such a solid game and kind of do what I was practising," Swiatek said on court.

"I feel pretty confident and pretty happy. Which doesn't happen often, honestly. So I'm happy that this is the first year where I finally kind of feel like I learned a lot and I can really adjust my game to grass courts a little."

The match of the day saw Greece's fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas complete a five-set victory over former U.S. Open winner Dominic Thiem 3-6 7-6(1) 6-2 6-7(5) 7-6(10-8) in match spread across two days.

He will need to make a quick recovery with Britain's twice champion Andy Murray waiting in the second round on Thursday.

American wave

Tenth seed Frances Tiafoe led a wave of American men into the second round with 7-6(4) 6-3 6-4 win over China's Wimbledon debutant Wu Yibing before compatriot Taylor Fritz completed a 6-4 2-6 4-6 7-5 6-3 victory over Yannick Hanfmann.

No American has won the men's trophy since Pete Sampras bagged his seventh title at the major in 2000 but Ben Shelton, Tommy Paul, Christopher Eubanks and Marcos Giron all stayed in the hunt with first-round wins.

Russian third seed Daniil Medvedev overcame wildcard Arthur Fery in straight sets while sixth seed Holger Rune also dispatched a British opponent, George Loffhagen, in a match that had started on Tuesday. Italian Jannik Sinner, the eighth seed, looked powerfully impressive with a clinical 7-5 6-1 6-2 defeat of Argentina's Diego Schwartzman.

In the women's draw there was a sizeable upset as Ukrainian youngster Marta Kostyuk battled back from losing the first set 6-0 to knock out Greek eighth seed Maria Sakkari. She became only the third women's player to beat a top-10 seed at Wimbledon in the professional era after losing the first set 6-0.

Other seeded players made progress though.

Brazil's Beatriz Haddad Maia, a semi-finalist at last month's French Open, beat Yulia Putintseva from a set down while 17th seed Jelena Ostapenko crushed qualifier Greet Minnen.

Czech 10th seed Barbora Krejcikova comfortably beat British wildcard Heather Watson to reach the second round while Daria Kasatkina was the only other player to reach the women's third round on schedule after thrashing Britain's Jodie Burrage.