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By Justin Palmer
LONDON, June 29 (Reuters) - After a tumultuous first week when the shock Wimbledon defeats of Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal upset the established order, Novak Djokovic was at his imperious best on Saturday to underline his claims to a second title.
Like a ruthless emperor dismissing an underling, top seed Djokovic brushed aside Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 6-3 6-2 6-2 with a powerful display that gave little indication he will be troubled en route to a possible 11th grand slam final.
Chardy, the 28th seed, put up little fight in the evening sunshine on Centre Court with the third round match wrapped up in 86 minutes.
Small consolation for Chardy came with the knowledge that he won one more game and lasted six more minutes than when they met in the first round in 2011, the year the Serb lifted his first grasscourt grand slam title.
Clinical Djokovic, is yet to drop a set, or his serve, in three one-sided contests so far. His all-court efficiency, serve and net dominance mixed with an array of laser-like forehand and backhand winners, were reflected by some eye-opening match statistics.
The Serb won 93 percent of first serve points, hit 38 winners and made just three unforced errors.
”That was incredible for me. I enjoyed every moment of it,“ Djokovic told reporters. ”Everything went well. So when you play that well, obviously you feel great, you feel confident.
”My results are getting better and better, so this is very encouraging for the first week.
“Now every match I‘m going to play, every opponent I‘m going to face is going to be more difficult. I‘m going to expect tough challenges... I‘m ready for it.”
Djokovic’s next opponent, evergreen Tommy Haas, should put up more resistance in the last 16.
German Haas surprisingly beat the Serb in straight sets at the Sony Open in Miami in March, although Djokovic took revenge in the quarter-finals of the French Open earlier this month.
“It’s going to be a big challenge for both of us. I think it’s his most preferred surface. He loves playing on grass. He had a few great wins,” Djokovic said.
“I mean, he’s 35 years old, and he’s been playing very close to the best tennis of his life, in my opinion. He’s very fit.”
Six-times grand slam winner Djokovic, whose path to another final is likely to be blocked by fourth seed David Ferrer or Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro, said the early shocks had made the tournament more interesting.
French Open king and twice Wimbledon winner Nadal lost to Belgian Steve Darcis in the first round while holder and seven-times champion Federer was upset a round later by Ukraine’s Sergiy Stakhovsky.
”It is a surprise, there’s no question about it,“ said Djokovic. ”It’s a bit strange feeling not to have Federer or Nadal at the second week of a major. In the last 10 years, it was always one of them.
“But it’s the way it is. There’s some players who have been playing great tennis. I think it’s interesting also to see new faces for the crowd, for the tennis world in general.” (Reporting by Justin Palmer; editing by Ken Ferris)