(Updates with Djokovic's match)
Serbian world No. 1 Novak Djokovic refused to join the list of Wimbledon favorites upset by opponents ranked outside the top 100, defeating qualifier Bobby Reynolds 7-6 (7-2), 6-3, 6-1 in workman-like fashion Thursday to advance to the third round.
Playing under the Centre Court roof on a rainy day at the All England Club, Djokovic struggled early on to break the 156th-ranked American's serve but he found his groove on his return game in the second set and the contest turned into a rout.
For the match, Djokovic struck 12 aces and won a whopping 91 percent of his first-serve points. His domination of the baseline, meanwhile, was reflected in a much higher winning percentage on second-serve points: 73 percent compared with 38 percent for Reynolds.
"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," Djokovic said, referring to the shocking first-week exits of Spanish two-time winner Rafael Nadal and Swiss seven-time champion Roger Federer.
"So we got to take it step by step. It's sport, you know. This is what happens. Everybody, especially lower ranked players in the opening rounds, have nothing to lose really when they go on the center stage and they come up with their best game."
On the first day of this year's Wimbledon, Nadal, fresh off winning his record eighth French Open title, suffered one of the biggest upsets in the history of the tournament when he fell in straight sets to 135th-ranked Steve Darcis of Belgium.
In an equally shocking development on Wednesday, Federer, the defending champion, lost in a tight four sets to 116th-ranked Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky.
Next up for Djokovic on Saturday will be either Germany's Jan-Lennard Struff or France's Jeremy Chardy, whose match was suspended by rain with the German leading 2-6, 7-5, 2-1.
Djokovic came into this year's Wimbledon without playing any tune-up events, saying he needed to recover physically and mentally after a grueling five-set loss to Nadal in the semifinals of the French Open, the only Grand Slam tournament he has yet to win in his career.
Earlier Thursday, top-seeded American Serena Williams restored order to the women's draw with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over promising 19-year-old Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia.
Her win came a day after No. 2 seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus withdrew from the tournament with a knee injury and Russian world No. 3 Maria Sharapova was stunned in straight sets by Portuguese world No. 131 Michelle Larcher de Brito.
Williams, who captured her second French Open title early this month, extended her current winning streak to 33 matches and will next play 42-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm of Japan, who advanced to the third round with a 6-4, 7-5 victory over Romanian Alexandra Cadantu.
In other men's results involving highly ranked players, No. 8 seed Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina scored a relatively routine 6-2, 7-6 (9-7), 6-3 victory over American Jesse Levine, while Czech Tomas Berdych, the 2010 runner-up, rolled to a 7-6 (8-6), 6-4, 6-2 win over German Daniel Brands.
Among the women, Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska, the No. 4 seed, defeated France's Mathilde Johansson 6-1, 6-3, and sixth-seeded Na Li of China won an up-and-down match against Romania's Simona Halep 6-2, 1-6, 6-0. EFE