LONDON: Japanese fifth seed Kei Nishikori struggled into the Wimbledon third round Thursday, while Swiss teenager Belinda Bencic and Spanish veteran David Ferrer exited as the All England Club played catch-up after a rain-lashed two days.
Nishikori saw off France’s world number 547 Julien Benneteau 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 on Centre Court and goes on to meet Russia’s Andrey Kuznetsov.
“I started playing more aggressive and more solid,” said the 26-year-old Nishikori who has never got beyond the Wimbledon fourth round.
“It wasn’t an easy match. He started well so it was a great match for me.”
Nineteen-year-old Bencic became the highest-ranked casualty at Wimbledon when the seventh seed retired from her second round match against American qualifier Julia Boserup.
Bencic was 6-4, 1-0 down on Court Three to the world number 225 who is making her Grand Slam debut.
Bencic, who missed the clay court season with a back injury, had only completed her first round match late Wednesday and struggled Thursday with what appeared to be a wrist problem.
Boserup, 24, goes on to face Andrea Petkovic of Germany or Russia’s Elena Vesnina for a place in the last 16.
Spain’s David Ferrer, the 13th seed, lost to fellow 34-year-old — and grass court specialist — Nicolas Mahut 6-1, 6-4, 6-3.
Canadian sixth seed Milos Raonic, regarded as a dark horse for the title, brushed past Andreas Seppi 7-6 (7/5), 6-4, 6-2.
Raonic, a semi-finalist in 2014, next faces Jack Sock of the United States.
Sock’s compatriot Sam Querrey, the 28th seed, eased past Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 for the dubious honour of facing defending champion Novak Djokovic for a place in the last 16.
Britain’s Dan Evans also booked a date to remember when his 7-6 (8/6), 6-4, 6-1 win over Ukrainian 30th seed Aleksandr Dolgopolov handed him a third round clash with seven-time champion Roger Federer.
Sixty singles matches were scheduled for Thursday after only 90 minutes of action was possible on the outside courts on Wednesday.
In an indication of the battering the schedule had taken, the first round was only completed just before 1200GMT when Barbora Strycova beat Anett Kontaveit.
Five-time women’s champion Venus Williams ignored her exile to Court 18 to battle past Greek qualifier Maria Sakkari 7-5, 4-6, 6-3.
Williams, the 36-year-old eighth seed, next plays Russian 29th seed Darya Kasatkina for a place in the last 16.
Garbine Muguruza, the second seed and French Open champion, was knocked out of Wimbledon in the second round, losing 6-3, 6-2 to Slovak qualifier Jana Cepelova.
Spanish 22-year-old Muguruza, the runner-up to Serena Williams at the All England Club last year, sank to defeat against the world number 124 in just 59 minutes.
Cepelova, who knocked out Simona Halep when the Romanian was ranked three at last year’s Wimbledon also on Court One, faces Czech 28th seed Lucie Safarova for a place in the last 16.
German fourth seed and Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber beat Varvara Lepchenko of the United States 6-1, 6-4.
There were also second round wins for Romanian fifth seed Simona Halep and ninth-seeded American, Madison Keys.
Meanwhile, a fuming Gilles Simon threatened to sue Wimbledon officials for making him play on potentially dangerous wet grass during his second round defeat against Grigor Dimitrov.
Simon slumped to a 6-3, 7-6 (7/1), 3-6, 6-4 loss on Court One on Thursday and the French 16th seed blamed tournament supervisors who insisted the match should continue despite a brief period of light rain.
Already frustrated he had been asked to play on when it was raining in the early stages of the match on Wednesday, Simon was incensed to be in the same situation again when the tie resumed 24 hours later.
Simon exchanged words with umpire John Blom when drizzle fell during the second set and was heard to say: “If I play and get injured, I will sue you and you will pay”.
The former Wimbledon quarter-finalist was still seething several hours after the match and repeated his threat to sue in his press conference.
“I hate to play when it’s raining. I never understood when they forcing us to go on the court when the court is slippery. It’s just not acceptable for me,” he said.
“I feel the day I’m going to get injured on slippery grass, I’m going to sue everyone in the stadium, because we try to understand what is happening in both parties, like tournaments and players, but in one point yesterday it was just ridiculous.
“I’m just going to tell you what the supervisor told me, and I let you decide how you feel when someone is telling you this straight into your face.”