Nadal 'not perfect' but overcomes lapse to reach Wimbledon third round

Two-time champion Nadal triumphed 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 to see off his 106th-ranked opponent, Lithuania's Ricardas Berankis

Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates winning his second round match against Lithuania's Ricardas Berankis. (Reuters)
Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates winning his second round match against Lithuania's Ricardas Berankis. (Reuters)


Published: Fri 1 Jul 2022, 12:06 AM

Rafael Nadal overcame another mid-match lapse to defeat Lithuania’s Ricardas Berankis in four sets and reach the Wimbledon third round for the 11th time on Thursday.

Two-time champion Nadal triumphed 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 to see off his 106th-ranked opponent.

The Spaniard, who is bidding to add the Wimbledon title to his Australian and French Open victories, will tackle Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego for a place in the last 16.

“Every day is a challenge,” said Nadal, who is playing Wimbledon for the first time since making the semifinals in 2019.

“Every day is a chance to improve and I need to improve.

“The fourth set was a better level. I was able to be more aggressive with my forehand. It’s important to accept that things are not perfect. I need to keep working.”

The 36-year-old was in control against Berankis until he dropped the third set, just as he did in his opener against Francisco Cerundolo.

However, he steadied the ship, racing into a 3-0 lead in the fourth set before play was held up for the Centre Court roof to close.

When the match resumed, he swept to victory, finishing with a flourish by hitting his 13th ace.

Halep advances

Former Wimbledon champion Simona Halep reached the third round at this year’s tournament, and ended Kirsten Flipkens singles career in the process.

Halep came from a break down in both sets to win 7-5, 6-4 against the 36-year-old Belgian, who has said this will be her last singles tournament. Halep trailed 5-2 in the first set and 4-1 in the second before reeling off five straight games both times.

Halep is playing at Wimbledon for the first time since winning the title in 2019. She missed last year’s tournament with an injury and the 2020 edition was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Flipkens is also playing in the Wimbledon singles draw for the first time since 2019 and has now exited in the second round in her last six appearances. She laid down to kiss the grass after the match and then received an embrace from Halep at the net.

Nakashima stuns Shapovalov

Brandon Nakashima of the United States knocked 13th-seeded Denis Shapovalov out of Wimbledon, beating the Canadian 6-2, 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (6).

Shapovalov reached the semifinals at the All England Club last year, his best result at a Grand Slam tournament.

Nakashima matched his best result at a major tournament by reaching the third round. He advanced to the same stage at this year’s French Open.

Nakashima, who is ranked 56th in the world, will next face Daniel Elahi Galan. The Colombian advanced to the third round when Roberto Bautista Agut withdrew from the tournament after testing positive for Covid-19.

Swiatek extends winning streak

Top-ranked Iga Swiatek took her winning streak to 37 matches by beating Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 to reach the third round at Wimbledon.

Swiatek won on No. 1 Court to make her winning run the longest since Martina Hingis also won 37 matches in a row in 1997.

This victory, though, was far from easy for the Polish player — despite facing a player ranked 138th.

Swiatek had to save two break points in the opening game of the third set, then secured the decisive breakthrough with a slice of luck.

At 2-1, Swiatek earned a break point when her Dutch opponent deliberately let a shot fly past her at the net, thinking it would sail long. However, it landed inside the baseline, and Swiatek then hit a forehand winner on the next point to break for a 3-1 lead.

Swiatek won her second French Open title this month but has never been past the fourth round at Wimbledon.

Boulter upsets Pliskova

Katie Boulter upset 2021 Wimbledon runner-up Karolina Pliskova to reach the third round of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time.

The 118th-ranked British player rallied to win 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4 against the hard-serving Pliskova, who lost last year’s final to Ash Barty.

The 25-year-old Boulter also beat Pliskova last week at a warmup tournament in Eastbourne for her first win against a top-10 player. She broke for a 5-4 lead in the final set and converted her first match point with a volley winner.

Pliskova’s powerful serve looked far from its best throughout the match as she mixed 13 aces with eight double-faults and was broken four times.

Tsitsipas sets up Kyrgios clash

Former French Open finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas is into the third round of Wimbledon for just the second time, setting up a meeting with Nick Kyrgios at the grass-court Grand Slam.

The fourth-seeded Greek beat Jordan Thompson of Australia 6-2, 6-3, 7-5 on No. 1 Court. He broke Thompson in the final game to clinch the win on his third match point when the Australian sent a shot long.

It’s the first time since 2018 that Tsitispas is into the third round at Wimbledon, having lost in the first round last year and 2019. He reached the fourth round in 2018 for his career-best result at the All England Club.

Tsitsipas, who lost last year’s French Open final to Novak Djokovic, will next face Kyrgios in a matchup of hard hitters.

“It’s going to be a challenging one on grass for sure,” Tsitsipas said about facing Kyrgios. “He’s a big opponent for this surface.”

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