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Novak Djokovic sharpens up for Stepanek battle

By Paul Newman

After Andy Murray set the early standard, top seed Novak Djokovic looked just as impressive if not even more so as he brushed aside Andrey Golubev of Kazakhstan.

After taking the first two sets 6-0 and 6-1 in just 47 minutes, the Serbian – beaten by Murray in the final here last year – was at least stretched by the world number 56, before closing out the match 6-4 in the third.

"Coming into Wimbledon with no official matches (on grass), it always gives you an extra reason to get that commitment and focus from the start and try to play as best as you can. That is what I did and I am very, very pleased with my performance overall," said Djokovic, beaten in the final of the French Open by Rafael Nadal barely two weeks ago.

The world number two will next face Radek Stepanek after the Czech knocked out Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay 6-2 6-4 6-4.

Djokovic added: "It was a great start, especially in the first two sets.

"Credit to Andrey for coming back in the third, but I cannot be happier with the performance.

"It's never easy coming into a tournament, and you can never underestimate any opponents. But I started extremely well and played a very good game.

"I don't know why somebody would have concern about my physical condition – I had two weeks off after the French Open, and that's more than enough time to get ready for a grass court tournament."

Meanwhile, Grigor Dimitrov is confident he now has the right formula to make a major impact on the grand slam tournaments after the Queen's Club champion coasted into the second round of Wimbledon.

The 11th-seeded Bulgarian maintained the momentum from his Aegon Championships triumph with a straight-sets 7-6 (7/1) 6-3 6-2 win over American Ryan Harrison.

Dimitrov – ranked world number one as a junior and winner of the 2008 boys' title at the All England Club – feels the switch to working with Roger Rasheed, former coach to Lleyton Hewitt, is now starting to pay dividends.

"I am feeling good at the moment, I like the way I am playing right now and am feeling comfortable on court," said 23-year-old Dimitrov, who reached the quarter-finals of the Australian Open and came into Wimbledon with an ATP ranking of 13.

"Getting in that partnership with Roger Rasheed really helped me out through that tough time last year.

"Coming through the (2013) tournament in Stockholm, obviously that was a good stepping stone for me, my first (ATP) title.

"That created a big window for us, where we could put in extra work and see our goals in the future.

"We are just going strong. We are not satisfied with less.

"The structure on and off the court is really important, this has brought a lot of discipline, in terms of shot selection, all those things.

"For me it was just a matter of time to learn something about myself more than anything else. It just clicked."

The 23-year-old, boyfriend to 2004 Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova, next faces Luke Saville of Australia.

Belfast Telegraph

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