London, England) – As happened in the first round at Wimbledon, the Spaniard Rafael Nadal returned to leave a set on the court, this time against the Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis, who gave his scares in the Mallorca southpaw, but not enough to get beyond winning a partial , being defeated in the end with the score of 6/4, 6/4, 4/6 and 6/3, after 3h00 of battle.
A two-time All England Club champion, the Spaniard reaches the third round in the tournament for the 11th time in 15 appearances. His next opponent in the competition will be Italian Lorenzo Sonego, seed 27, who needed just three sets to defeat Frenchman Hugo Gaston, scoring 7/6 (7-4), 6/4 and 6/4. It will be the first time that the two will measure forces through the circuit.
With this Thursday’s victory, Nadal takes the isolated fourth place among the biggest Grand Slam winners in history, reaching 307 triumphs in the four main tournaments on the circuit and leaving behind Martina Navratilova with 306. Now, he is behind only Roger Federer (369), Serena Williams (365) and Novak Djokovic (330).
Absent from the last edition of Wimbledon, giving up playing in 2021 due to fatigue, Rafa has not competed in the tournament since 2019, when he went to the semifinals, stopping only at Federer. This was also his last appearance in a grass tournament until starting the dispute this year at the All England Club, beating Argentine Francisco Cerundolo by 3 sets to 1.
One of 13 southpaws who managed to make it through the first round at the British Grand Slam, of the 22 who were in the main draw, Nadal again did not have a brilliant performance, but he did enough to defeat Berankis once again, repeating what he had done at the beginning of the year. , when he beat the 32-year-old Lithuanian and currently 106th in the world in the second round of the ATP 250 Melbourne.
Although he didn’t shine on the court, the Wimbledon seed 2 proved to be a little more adapted to the floor. With the serve, he won 68% of the points played, scored 12 aces and scored two breaks. Still in search of a better fine-tuning, the Spaniard ended the match with 34 winning balls and 39 unforced errors, against 35 winners and also 35 unforced errors by Berankis.
Nadal was the first to have the serve threatened in the match, saving a break-point in the fifth game. After that he had a wasted breakout chance in the eighth and two more in the 10th, taking advantage of the last of them to beat Berankis’ serve to close the opening set.
The Spaniard’s performance was not good at the beginning of the next two partials. In the second set, he broke and even saw Berankis open 3/1 before recovering in the dispute. Rafa returned the break in the sixth game, drawing at 3/3, and in the final stretch scored another to make 6/4. In the third, the Lithuanian opened 2/0 straight away and then managed the advantage until the end.
With the defeat in the third set, Nadal came more connected to the fourth and lost just one point in the first three games. In the middle of the fourth game, the rain came and a long stoppage to close the roof. Berankis confirmed the serve, having saved two break-points, and thus left from zero. The initial advantage lasted until the end and the Spaniard finally sealed his second victory in the competition.