Rafael Nadal Struggles, But Gets Past Ricardas Berankis in Wimbledon Second Round

Nadal Wimbledon vs Darcis
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It wasn’t the easiest of matches for World No. 4 Rafael Nadal.

But, the reigning French Open champion managed to get past Ricardas Berankis 6-4 6-4 4-6 6-3 to advance to the third round of Wimbledon.

Rafael Nadal vs Ricardas Berankis

Nadal won 68% of his service points, hitting 12 aces, and only getting broken twice over the course of the four sets. On return, Nadal won 53% of his second-serve return points and generated 16 break points, breaking on four occasions.

However, things were far from smooth sailing for Nadal. In the first set, Nadal had to save a break point when serving at *2-2. And, in the second set, the Spaniard found himself down *1-3 15-30 and in danger of going down a double break in that set.

And while Nadal was able to recover and win the first two sets, in the third set, Nadal was broken in his first service game of the set and didn’t manage a single break point chance of his own all set.

The fourth set saw Nadal jump out to a 3-0* lead and not relinquish his lead. In fact, Nadal only lost five points on his serve in the entire set, hitting his spots much better on serve.

Overall, Nadal hit 34 winners compared to 39 unforced errors in the match, an improvement from the 23 winners and 41 unforced errors he hit in his four-set victory over Francisco Cerundolo in the first round.

Nadal’s level, however, did not improve much at all from that first-round encounter. His forehand was much more hit-or-miss than usual as he struggled to find his rhythm on the lower-bouncing grass. His forehand didn’t make much of an impact, landing shorter than he would have liked and allowing Berankis to tee off at times.

But, even with Nadal not at his best, he was still good enough. Nadal’s flatter backhand cut through the court, he moved around the court well, and the heavy spin on his forehand still perplexed Berankis at times.

In addition, Nadal’s volleys were very well-hit, as the Spaniard won 20/28 points at the net. Nadal’s touch both from the baseline and at the net are underrated parts of his repetoire.

Up Next for Nadal

In the next round, Nadal will face Lorenzo Sonego. The big-serving Italian beat Denis Kudla and Hugo Gaston to reach the third round, winning over 70% of his service points in both matches. And these two have not played before, meaning there will be some time needed for Nadal to get a read on his opponent.

However, given Nadal’s incredible rally tolerance and returning ability, he shouldn’t have too many issues with Sonego in the third round.

We will find out if Nadal can reach the second week of another Slam on Saturday.

Main Photo from Getty.