Rafael Nadal advances to the third round at Wimbledon after beating Ricardas Berankis 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 in three hours and four minutes. As in the first round, Nadal was far from his best, struggling to impose his shots, convert more break chances or defend his second serve more efficiently.
Still, he was enough to advance through four sets and find himself in the last 32. Nadal lost serve twice and delivered four breaks from 16 chances. He leveled it up in the second half of the match and finished with 34 winners and 39 unforced errors, playing more aggressively than in the early stages.
Rafa couldn't find the shots from him in the opening set, but did enough to keep serve safe after fending off a single break point. Berankis survived a break point in game eight to wrap up the result at 4-4 before Nadal grabbed a break point in game ten for 6-4.
The Spaniard suffered a break in the third game of the second set and fell 3-1 as the Lithuanian saved break points. Rafa broke again in the sixth game and missed more chances to take the lead with a 4-3 run. Ricardas served to stay in the set at 4-5 and experienced more trouble.
He fended off three break points before Nadal converted the fourth to open a 6-4, 6-4 lead despite playing below his level. Berankis broke early in the third set and served well to hold the lead until the end. In game ten, Berankis held to close out the set and force the fourth.
Nadal claimed 12 of the opening 13 points to forge a 3-0 lead before rain washed them off the court.
Gauff praises Rafa Nadal
Speaking at his second round post-match press conference, Rafael Nadal praised Gauff for her maturity and predicted that she would win several Grand Slam titles in her career.
“They mean a lot to me. Rafa is one of the greatest in this sport, if not the greatest. I see him in the players' area, he's very nice. He always intimidates me because he is Rafa. I remember that at Roland Garros he slapped me on the shoulder and said: 'Good job'
I answered him when he had already passed the corridor because I was shocked,” Coco Gauff said. “He is one of the best players. We see each other every week, but he continues to impress. Like with Nole, Roger, Serena or Venus. Hearing that from him is great, I hope to live up to expectations,” she added.