London – Roger Federer produced a far more polished performance at Wimbledon on Thursday, blowing past Frenchman Richard Gasquet 7-6 (7-1), 6-1, 6-4 in the second round.
The 39-year-old eight-time champion had looked rusty at times during his first-round clash with Adrian Mannarino.
It was not quite vintage Federer, but the 7,500 fans packed around his favorite court did not care as the Swiss gave them plenty to get excited about. Federer took a while to find his timing and needed to save three break points in his first service game.
But after being pushed into a tiebreak, the 20-time Grand Slam champion flicked the switch and his game began to flow as he claimed the breaker in scintillating style.
After taking the opener, Federer moved smoothly through the gears and Gasquet could not keep up. Gasquet suffered his 11th successive defeat against Federer, a run dating back to 2011 in which he has not even won a set.
Landmarks and Federer go hand in hand and on Thursday he became the oldest man in 46 years to reach the third round. He will face Britain's Cameron Norrie for a place in the last 16.
"Cam is a good guy and is having a wonderful year," Federer said. "He has done well here but it's time for him to go out!"
Norrie joins fellow Britons Dan Evans and two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray in the third round. It is the first time three British men have reached the third round since 1999, when Tim Henman, Greg Rusedski and Danny Sapsford reached the last 32.
"If there's a time to play Roger, now's the time I guess, but he's still a decent player," Norrie joked.
The younger generation of top players still have a long way to go to prove they can win Wimbledon, but two of them showed they are becoming accustomed to the vagaries of grass.
Men's No. 2 seed Daniil Medvedev made short work of 18-year-old Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, the youngest player in the men's draw. Medvedev showed the confidence he gained from winning his first tournament on grass last Saturday in Mallorca, Spain.
The 25-year-old has never been beyond the third round and to break that mark he will have to beat 2017 finalist Marin Cilic of Croatia.
Alexander Zverev, like Medvedev, has yet to flourish at Wimbledon, but the German dismissed Tennys Sandgren, 7-5, 6-2, 6-3. The No. 4 seed next plays big-serving American Taylor Fritz.
Zverev and Medvedev could meet in the semifinals.
"I'm not in a position right now where I'm satisfied with just a quarterfinal or a semifinal, something like that," Zverev said.
Federer's much-improved second round performance was in stark contrast to Ash Barty.
The 25-year-old is bidding to win the Wimbledon singles title on the 50th anniversary of fellow indigenous Australian Evonne Goolagong Cawley's first victory.
Barty produced an error-strewn performance in her 6-4, 6-3 win over Russia's Anna Blinkova as she progressed to a third-round meeting with Czech Katerina Siniakova.
"She pushed me incredibly hard," Barty said.
"A few points here and there it could have been a different story."
Barty could meet Barbora Krejcikova, this year's French Open champion, in the last 16.
Krejcikova brushed aside her second-round opponent, German veteran Andrea Petkovic, 7-5, 6-4.
Barty is popular on Centre Court, but her fan support is nothing compared to Coco Gauff, who thrilled fans during her run to the last 16 as 15-year-old qualifier in 2019.
"Coco Mania" has not diminished, despite a two-year hiatus, and the 17-year-old did not let the crowd down with a 6-4, 6-3 win over former semifinalist Elena Vesnina.
"It feels like I have changed and grown a lot," said Gauff.
"Two years ago not many people knew my name, at least before I beat Venus, and now it (Wimbledon) feels more like home."
The crowd also showered applause on 2018 Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber and her opponent Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo.
Kerber came through an absorbing duel 7-5, 5-7, 6-4.
Elina Svitolina, the No. 3 seed and a Wimbledon semifinalist two years ago, said she needs a rest after losing 6-3, 6-4 to Poland's Magda Linette.
"I think mentally today I was not really in a good place," said Svitolina.
French Open semfinalist Maria Sakkari, the 15th-seeded Greek, lost to Shelby Rogers of the United States 7-5, 6-4.
Victoria Azarenka joined them later on Thursday, with the 31-year-old No. 12 seed from Belarus beaten 7-6 (7-5), 3-6, 6-4 by Romania's Sorana Cirstea.
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