Rafael Nadal has edged closer in his bid for another Wimbledon title after defeating Ricardas Berankis to advance to the third round.
Second seed Rafael Nadal defeated his opponent Ricardas Berankis at Wimbledon on Thursday 6-4 6-4 4-6 6-3 to reach the third round but his 307th Grand Slam match win.
This win places him one ahead of Martina Navratilova and fourth on the all-time list.
Nadal spoke to reporters after the match.
"Not the best start honestly but I finished playing well. The fourth set has been the level of tennis for me, important improvement. The rest of the things I have room to improve," Nadal said.
"But, yeah, it's a victory in four sets, spend three hours on the court again, that helps."
His Lithuanian opponent struck the ball crisply and matched Nadal for long periods but gifted away a scrappy first set when he chose the worst possible time to hand over his serve with a bunch of poor errors, when trailing 5-4.
However, this was the second time in two matches that Nadal had lost the third set having won the opening two, but he responded by winning 12 of the first 13 points of the fourth for a 3-0 lead only to be stopped in his tracks when a cloudburst forced a delay as the roof was rolled across the court.
When play resumed nearly an hour later, 106th ranked Berankis held serve three times and played a full part in some eye-catching baseline exchanges but Nadal polished off the match with a victory.
Former world number one men’s singles player Novak Djokovic also continues to advance in the tournament in hopes of an encounter with Nadal in the finals.
“If we get to face each other, that means that we're both in the finals, which I think we both want,” Novak Djokovic said, adding, “I'd love to face him in the finals and get revenge for Paris.”
“Of course, you have to put him as one of the favourites even though he hasn't played in Wimbledon for I think last three years. But still, you know, he is Nadal, he has achieved what he has achieved throughout his career. And also this year, which gives you a lot of confidence you know, in his case,” Djokovic said.
Over the years, they have faced each other a record 59 times, with Djokovic winning 30 times and Nadal 29. At Grand Slams, the pair have faced off 18 times, with Nadal winning 11 of those meetings.