London, July 2: Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova breezed through at a sweltering Wimbledon on Wednesday where temperatures soared to an all-time record high.
But Japanese star Kei Nishikori was forced to withdraw with a calf injury while Ana Ivanovic became the third woman in the top 10 to be knocked out in the first three days.
Defending champion and top seed Djokovic reached the third round with a 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 victory over Jarkko Nieminen which brought the curtain down on the Finn's Wimbledon career.
Djokovic will take on Australian 27th seed Bernard Tomic for a place in the last 16 as the Serb continues his bid to win a third Wimbledon and ninth Grand Slam crown.
It was Djokovic's sixth career win in seven meetings against the 33-year-old Nieminen and the two men exchanged a warm embrace at the net once their 92-minute Centre Court duel had ended.
"It was his last Wimbledon so I congratulated him on a great career," said Djokovic.
Tomic made the third round by defeating Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France, 7-6 (7/3), 6-4, 7-6 (7/5).
Women's top seed and five-time champion Serena Williams cruised into the third round with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Hungary's Timea Babos with 12 aces and 23 winners in just 59 minutes on Centre Court.
The 33-year-old, bidding for a third Grand Slam title of the year, will play Britain's Heather Watson for a place in the last 16.
"I'm definitely playing well, which I never say, but I had two really tough matches straight off the bat so I had to pick up my game," Serena said.
Sister Venus, also a five-time Wimbledon winner and a potential fourth round opponent, went through, beating Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan 7-6 (7/5), 6-4.
Djokovic plays it cool
Fourth-seeded Sharapova, the 2004 champion, downed Dutch qualifier Richel Hogenkamp 6-3, 6-1 and next faces Romanian 29th seed Irina-Camelia Begu.
Temperatures at Wimbledon hit at a record high of 35.7 degrees Celsius (96.3 degrees Fahrenheit) -- beating the previous mark of 34.6C in 1976.
However, Djokovic, who has played in 40C at the Australian Open, said: "It wasn't as bad as I thought. People were talking about it and predicting really difficult conditions. But I didn't find it as difficult as I thought it might be." AFP