Three years after his last match on the All England Club lawns, Rafa Nadal returns to the Championships with a four-set win over Argentina’s Francisco Cerundolo. A more painful success than expected, no doubt thanks to the South American tennis player n.41 in the ranking, but facilitated by the imprecision of the Manacor champion (41 free errors) who closes the match (6-4 6-3 3-6 6 -4) in just over three and a half hours.
Fresh from the triumphs at the Australian Open and Roland Garros, Nadal, favorite # 2 in London, today won the Slam victory # 306 in his career, which places him in fourth position in the all-time rankings, equaling Martina’s record Navratilova. “I am very happy because in the difficult moments I was able to raise the level of my game – commented Nadal -. I know that I have to and can improve further, but I am convinced that this victory will help me.” In the next round Nadal – two Championships successes in 15 participations – will face the Lithuanian Ricardas Berankins, winning in three sets against the American Sam Querrey (6-4 7-5 6-3). An opponent certainly within his reach, in the half of the board already orphaned by Matteo Berrettini and Marin Cilic, both retired due to Covid.
It was with the blue that Nadal trained last Thursday on Center Court. “I am very sorry for Matteo because he was playing very well – the words of the Spaniard -. I can imagine how he feels now, it is very sad. It was very unfortunate, but I am not worried about possible contagion: anything can happen, but for the moment I’m fine and we didn’t have a close proximity “.
Among the Italians, if Lorenzo Musetti surrenders in less than two hours to the American Taylor Friz, favorite 11 (4-6 4-6 6-3), Lorenzo Sonego survives the marathon with another American, Denis Kudla, winning the fifth set (6-7 6-3 7-5 4-6 6-2) after almost four hours of battle. In the women’s draw the Tuscan Jasmine Paolini missed the feat, who in three sets (6-2 4-6 6-2) was beaten by the Czech Petra Kvitova, twice winner of the Championships. Camila Giorgi is also out, who must surrender (7-6 6-1) to the Polish Magdalena Frech.
Meanwhile, the statements of Alizè Cornet are being discussed. The French n.37 in the world said, in no uncertain terms, that there was an outbreak of Covid in Paris but no one spoke, unlike the one that happened in Wimbledon with Berrettini and Cilic. “At Roland Garros there was an epidemic of Covid, no one talked about it – his words -. In the locker room they all had it and we didn’t say anything. I think that in Paris there have been some cases and that there was a tacit agreement between us, no do-it-yourself tampon to avoid getting into trouble. Even here I won’t do self-tests so as not to get into me … “.
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