None of the opening five points went with the serve, but Djokovic recovered from 4-2 down to take it 7-5 and leave himself in complete control of the match.
The former No. 1 continues to fine-tune his game following an at-times rocky start to 2017, but Djokovic was closer to his commanding best on Tuesday as he ousted Mannarino from Wimbledon's running with a straight-set win.
Mannarino threatened only in short bursts and he stretched the former victor on points. Despite struggling through the first four sets, he turned on the fireworks in the fifth, taking it 6-2. The answer was not very often, if ever. At break point, a deep forehand forced Djokovic into a strained backhand response, allowing Mannarino the space for a dropshot that the Serb could only turn into the net.
The Serbian needed a medical timeout, while leading 4-3 in the third set, for treatment on his right shoulder, and there was obvious relief as he claimed victory after two hours and 14 minutes.
He explained: "Grass is probably the most demanding and complex surface for maintenance. It's one of the days where you can get probably the most quality matches, both singles and doubles, men and women, that you can have throughout the entire tournament", said the Serb, a three-times Wimbledon victor. "But I just think it was a wrong decision not to play us last night, because we could have played". The other, is the weakness of his second serve, a weakness that Djokovic, arguably the greatest returner of all time, has been able to ruthlessly exploit over the years.
With that a team of ground staff broke into a swearing storm in the sheds and club members swooned in the debenture lounge. "They were complaining. Especially on the outside courts", Djokovic said after beating Ernests Gulbis in straight sets at Centre Court on Saturday.
"It's important to get through the first week with a good feeling", said Federer, who compiled hard-to-believe official statistics of 61 winners to a mere seven unforced errors, "and I think I got that".
Interestingly, when Djokovic, who is now plying Wimbledon, won his third round match against Latvian Ernests Gulbis, Jelena was nowhere to be seen.
It is always thus. He may be concerned at having spent significantly more time on court than Djokovic, but equally, he unlike the Serb, enjoyed a day of rest on Tuesday, which may well aid his cause.
One particular shot, a gratuitous between-the-legs flick in the eighth game of the match, indicated he was out to impress the crowd and possibly unsettle Djokovic.
"Yeah it was great drama".
LONDON (AP) - With a week still to go, Wimbledon's grass courts already are not the lush lawns players - and TV viewers - are accustomed to seeing early in the tournament. "It is for a spectator", he added momentarily forgetting what industry it is where he works.