Kei Nishikori cruised into the third round at Wimbledon on Thursday after dispatching American qualifier Denis Kudla with ease 6-3, 6-2, 6-1.
It was the third consecutive year that Nishikori reached the third round at the All England Club.
After a slightly rocky start, Nishikori quickly began to dictate the tempo, forcing his opponent to scramble with searing forehands and cleverly disguised drop shots.
Kudla tried in vain to keep pace with the No. 10 seed but Nishikori never let up, breaking Kudla’s serve seven times during the match.
At times Kudla seemed resigned to his fate, missing easy shots and failing to capitalize on his fleeting opportunities to get back into the contest.
It was all over after 1 hour, 28 minutes, with Nishikori never really having to step out of first gear. A smiling Nishikori acknowledged the sizeable Japanese crowd with a wave and a pump of his fist before making his way off court.
Nishikori will face either No. 22 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany or Simone Bolelli of Italy in the next round.
Also Thursday, five-time women’s champion Serena Williams wasted no time in reaching the third round, routing Chanelle Scheepers 6-1, 6-1 in just 49 minutes.
Chasing her 18th Grand Slam title, the top-seeded American overwhelmed the 94th-ranked South African in the opening match on Court 1 at the All England Club.
Williams served eight aces and had 26 winners.
The 30-year-old Scheepers, who had never won a match at Wimbledon until this week, had only five winners to go with 13 unforced errors.
Williams, coming off a second-round loss at the French Open, is playing in her 15th Wimbledon and 56th Grand Slam tournament.