Nadal survives Cerundolo scare at Wimbledon ATP Tour

Rafael Nadal had nothing special on Tuesday, but he stepped up when needed to reach the second round of Wimbledon for the 14th time.

Competing on grass for the first time since 2019, the Spaniard went 6-4, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 after three hours and 36 minutes to overcome a difficult test from Francisco Cerundolo. displayed his trademark fighting spirit.

“First of all, all credit to Frank. I think he started playing well and [was] A very tough opponent,” Nadal said in his on-court interview. “It’s clear it’s been three years for me without being here, without playing on this wonderful surface, so I’m very happy to be back. For me, it’s always wonderful to play here on this court and I can’t thank everyone enough for the support.”

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In front of a packed crowd on center court, Nadal avoided a mid-match return from Argentina, who were making their championship debut. After winning the first two sets, the 36-year-old suddenly found himself breaking down in the fourth set.

However, under pressure, Nadal increased his intensity and depth on his return to regain control and improve the season to 31-3.

The second seed is looking for a record 23rd Grand Slam title, having won the first two Majors of the year for the first time in his career. After defeating Lithuanian Sam Quere 6-4, 7-5, 6-3, he will face Ricardas Berankis in the second round.

Nadal said, “It’s not a surface we play on very often, and especially in my case, for different reasons, as I said in the last three years I haven’t set foot on the grass court, so It always takes some time,” Nadal said. , “It was my first match and as I know, every day is a test and today was one of these important tests.

“I know especially at the start of the tournament, the conditions in which I got here, winning is the most important thing because it gives me a chance to practice again tomorrow and do one more match in two days. I am happy for that That, without a doubt.”

Nadal got off to a brisk start in his first meeting with Cerundolo, toppling 13 winners in the first two sets as he controlled the proceedings and got his feet on the lawn in London.

But, seemingly down and out, the world No. 41 began to turn the tables in a dramatic manner. After securing the third set, Cerundolo broke again at the start of the fourth set, winning a massive 12-minute game to add more fuel to his fight.

However, it’s never easy to end a set out when you’re playing with Nadal, and that proved to be the case, with the world number four taking the final four games 2-4 to ensure his victory. left behind

Cerundolo was aiming to reach the second round of a Grand Slam for the first time. Argentina’s best result this season came at the ATP Masters 1000 event in Miami, where it reached the semi-finals. His run to success has propelled the 23-year-old from number 103 to number 51 in the Pepperstone ATP rankings.


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