Even though Rafael Nadal’s workplace on Thursday was Wimbledon’s bright but cold Centre Court for a match against Ricardas Berankis, some days at the office may be a bit of a grind. This was the case even if Nadal’s opponent for the match was Ricardas Berankis.
The second seed was able to advance to the third round with a win of 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, and 6-3. However, his 307th Grand Slam match victory, which took him one win above of Martina Navratilova and fourth on the all-time record, may not be something he remembers for very long.
An out-of-tune Nadal’s chances of winning the calendar-year Grand Slam never seemed to be in grave danger of being derailed by the player ranked 106th in the world, but he is aware that he will need to play far better in the rounds to come in order to win a third Wimbledon championship.
The numbers did a very good job of telling the story, as they showed that Nadal had an exceptionally high number of unforced mistakes (39), compared to wins (35).
“To tell you the truth, I didn’t get off to the greatest start, but I ended strong. The level of tennis that I am now at is the fourth set, which is a big development. The remaining aspects in which I have opportunity for improvement are as follows: “Nadal explained it to the reporters.
The Lithuanian Berankis stroked the ball crisply and competed with Nadal for lengthy stretches of time; nevertheless, he threw away a sloppy first set when he selected the worst possible moment to throw up his serve with a flurry of terrible mistakes, which was when he was down 5-4.
The Centre Court audience undoubtedly anticipated Nadal to go through the gears at that point; but, the typical zing was lacking from his groundstrokes, and he had to recover a break of serve in the second set as he laboured his way towards victory.
Berankis once again took the lead in the third set when he broke the opponent’s service early on with a deftly executed backhand and had a chance to take a 4-1 advantage for himself. Nadal was able to avoid that, but he was unable to find any motivation to regain the break of service. As a result, he was forced to play some extra time because Berankis, who was becoming more confident, held serve to love at 5-4.
It was the second time in two matches that Nadal had lost the third set after winning the opening two sets, but he responded by winning 12 of the first 13 points of the fourth for a 3-0 lead, only to be stopped in his tracks when a cloudburst forced a delay as the roof was rolled across the court. It was the second time in two matches that Nadal had lost the third set after winning the opening two sets.
When play began after a break of almost an hour, the 106th ranked player, Berankis, held service three times and played a full role in some eye-catching baseline exchanges. However, Nadal was a man in a hurry and finished off the match with his 13th ace.
Because so many of the top seeds have already been eliminated, the bottom part of the draw seems to be favourable for Nadal; nonetheless, the 27th seed from Italy, Lorenzo Sonego, will present a test of Nadal’s condition and fitness on Saturday.