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Nadal makes it past Berankis to secure place in third round at Wimbledon

The second seed will face 27th seed Italian Lorenzo Sonego, who advanced to the fourth round at SW19 last year.

SNS | New Delhi |

Rafael Nadal, the two-time Wimbledon champion from Spain, advanced to the third round after defeating Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 in a late-evening Wimbledon match.

The second seed will face 27th seed Italian Lorenzo Sonego, who advanced to the fourth round at SW19 last year.

“Every day is a challenge, that’s the truth. All the opponents are difficult. We are playing against the best players of the world and especially even in these conditions, it will be more (difficult). I didn’t play much on grass for the past three years,” Nadal was quoted as saying by atptour.com. “Every day is an opportunity to improve and today I’m through, so that gives me the chance to keep going. (I am) very happy for that,” added the Spaniard on Thursday night.

Nadal’s performance was far from clinical, as he lost his serve twice and dropped a set for the second time in a row (also against Argentine Francisco Cerundolo). However, he is now 32-3 on the season and continues his quest for the Grand Slam, having won the Australian Open and the French Open to begin the season.

Nadal was erratic against the former junior world No. 1, making 39 unforced errors, but Berankis deserves credit for raising his game against the 22-time major champion.

“I need to improve. But I think the fourth set was much better. I think it was a good level of tennis in that fourth set. The serve worked much better,” Nadal said. “In the end I was able to play a little bit more aggressive with the forehand. At the beginning, it was too many mistakes, but that’s a process. It’s important for me to accept that things are not perfect and (that I need to) just keep working, being humble and accept the challenge.”

Sonego, Nadal’s next opponent, defeated Hugo Gaston of France 7-6(4), 6-4, 6-4. This season, the Italian has advanced to the third round of all three majors. It will be Nadal and Sonego’s first ATP head-to-head meeting.

Nadal has now reached the third round of at least 21 consecutive major tournaments. He has reached at least the quarterfinals in each of his previous 15 Grand Slam appearances.

(Inputs from IANS)