Rafael Nadal secured a spot in the third round of the 2022 Wimbledon Championships following his win over Ricardas Berankis on Thursday. The Spaniard took a little more than three hours on Center Court to complete his 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 win over the Lithuanian.
This is the 11th time he’s made it this far at Wimbledon. The result extended his Grand Slam match-winning streak to 16 this year.
It wasn't a clinical performance by any stretch, but Nadal did just about enough to come through a tough match. He lost his serve twice and dropped a set for the second consecutive match.
Speaking in the post-match on-court interview, Nadal acknowledged that he still needs to find his rhythm after not playing on grass courts for three years.
“Every day is a challenge, that's the truth. All the opponents are difficult. We're playing against the best players in the world. Especially in these conditions, it is a little bit more difficult for me as I didn't play much on grass for the last three years. Every day is an opportunity to improve and today I'm through. That gives me the chance to keep going and I’m very happy for that,” Nadal said.
Nadal made 39 unforced errors against Berankis but was lucky that the former junior World No. 1 didn’t capitalize on that.
They were also forced to deal with a delay of almost an hour due to rain, which saw the Center Court roof close.
While the Spaniard knows that it wasn’t his best performance, he was happy with the way he ended the contest.
“I think the fourth set was much better. I think was a good level of tennis in the fourth set and the serve worked much better at the end of the match. I was able to play a little bit more aggressive with the forehead. In the beginning, there were too many mistakes, but that's a process,” Rafael Nadal said.
Second seed Rafael Nadal will next play 27th seed Lorenzo Sonego in the third round on Saturday. Earlier in the day, Sonego beat 2021 NextGen ATP Finals competitor Hugo Gaston 7-6(4), 6-4, 6-4 in his second-round match.
It will be the first meeting between Nadal and Sonego, who has a 3-13 record against top-10 opponents. The Italian reached the fourth round at SW19 last year and has made the third round at all three Majors this season.
By beating Berankis, Nadal has now registered his 307th Grand Slam win, which takes him past Martina Navratilova’s tally of 306. He sits fourth on the all-time list, behind Novak Djokovic (330), Serena Williams (365) and Roger Federer (369).
This is also the third time the 36-year-old has won 16+ matches in a row in Grand Slam tournaments, after having done so from Roland Garros 2010 to Australian Open 2011 (25 wins) and Roland Garros 2008 to US Open 2008 (19 wins).