Rafael Nadal digs deep as Covid hits the Wimbledon draw

28/06/2022 23:01:00

Rafael Nadal digs deep as Covid hits the Wimbledon draw

Rafael Nadal digs deep as Covid hits the Wimbledon draw

Looking for a calendar Grand Slam the Spaniard has already won the first two majors this year

Rafael Nadal celebrates his win over Argentina's Francisco Cerundolo at Wimbledon. Photograph: Getty ImagesByJohnny WattersonTue Jun 28 2022 - 20:53Bidding to win back-to-back Roland Garros and Wimbledon titles for the third time in his career, Rafa Nadal patrolled Centre Court with certainty and swagger against Argentinian Francisco Cerundolo on Tuesday.

But the 6-4, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 win demanded he dig deeper in the third and fourth sets than he might have imagined over the three hours 33 minutes.At times it had the feel of an exhibition of power hitting against the world number 41, but there were also a mountain of unforced errors. Four times Nadal had his serve broken and 14 times he saved break points against an opponent who knew he had to step up to survive.

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Expand Rafael Nadal celebrates his win over Argentina's Francisco Cerundolo at Wimbledon.Image: Alamy Stock Photo Image: Alamy Stock Photo RAFAEL NADAL OVERCAME a huge scare to reach the Wimbledon second round on Tuesday after title contender Matteo Berrettini was forced to pull out of the tournament with coronavirus.Image: Alamy Stock Photo Image: Alamy Stock Photo RAFAEL NADAL OVERCAME a huge scare to reach the Wimbledon second round on Tuesday after title contender Matteo Berrettini was forced to pull out of the tournament with coronavirus.Expand Strikes, bottlnecks and a Covid spike forced Aer Lingus to cancel flights.

Photograph: Getty Images By Johnny Watterson Tue Jun 28 2022 - 20:53 Bidding to win back-to-back Roland Garros and Wimbledon titles for the third time in his career, Rafa Nadal patrolled Centre Court with certainty and swagger against Argentinian Francisco Cerundolo on Tuesday. But the 6-4, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 win demanded he dig deeper in the third and fourth sets than he might have imagined over the three hours 33 minutes. An off-key Nadal, already halfway to a calendar Grand Slam after winning the Australian Open and French Open, dug deep to beat Francisco Cerundolo 6-4, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4. At times it had the feel of an exhibition of power hitting against the world number 41, but there were also a mountain of unforced errors. “Three years without being here on this amazing surface, it is amazing to be back and I can’t thank (people) enough for the support,” said the Spaniard, who has not played at Wimbledon since 2019. Four times Nadal had his serve broken and 14 times he saved break points against an opponent who knew he had to step up to survive. “It is not a surface that we play very often, especially in my case. Nadal had to save three break points at 4-4 before taking the first set before Cerundolo blew another break point at 2-2 allowing the Spaniard to take control and move into a two-set lead. In a statement, the company noted that pressure from air traffic control strikes, ongoing labour shortages suffered by airports and aviation service companies, forced it to cancel flights.

Offensive and confident and seemly over the foot injury that had threatened to keep him away from London this year, Nadal, now 36, has created his best opportunity by winning the first two legs of the four majors in the same calendar year.” The Spaniard appeared to be coasting to victory when he took a two-set lead but his Argentine opponent won the third set and then went a break up early in the fourth.” The Spaniard appeared to be coasting to victory when he took a two-set lead but his Argentine opponent won the third set and then went a break up early in the fourth. He is now halfway there and has never been so close to a feat that was last achieved in the men’s game in 1969 by the Australian Rod Laver. Following the French Open final, Nadal revealed that he had received painkilling injections to numb his left foot before each of his matches. Advertisement Source: Alamy Stock Photo He held serve and then broke again to seal the victory and will face Lithuania’s Ricardas Berankis in the next round. He said he would not do the same again at any tournament, not even Wimbledon, because of the risks connected to a chronic foot condition known as Müller-Weiss syndrome that is linked to a deformity in the navicular bone and first threatened his career in his late teens. There was a question mark over the Spaniard’s durability for the two weeks at Wimbledon having played the entire French Open with his troublesome left foot anaesthetised. Cerundolo broke twice to take control in the third set and despite wasting three set points at 5-3, eventually closed it out. The 36-year-old second seed has since undergone a course of radiofrequency stimulation, a treatment aimed at reducing nerve pain in his foot and he looked mobile. Aer Lingus intends restoring 90 per cent of pre-Covid seat numbers this year and maintains that it began planning for this last autumn, including building in “appropriate buffers”.

The contest was then in doubt when he broke first in the fourth set. But at 4-3 down, Nadal battled to win three games in a row. “I am at the beginning of the tournament and everyone knows the difficult circumstances that I had. “I am at the beginning of the tournament and everyone knows the difficult circumstances that I had. Game set and match. Italy’s Matteo Berrettini, seeded eight and one of the favourites for the men’s singles, was forced to withdraw along with Marin Cilic ahead of his first round match against Chile’s Cristian Garin after testing positive for Covid-19. “I am heartbroken to announce that I need to withdraw from @wimbledon due to a positive COVID-19 test result,” the 26-year-old Italian wrote on Instagram. “I am heartbroken,” said Berrettini, who said he has had flu symptoms and been isolating for the past few days. Berrettini was widely regarded as one of the biggest threats to defending champion Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon, having captured back-to-back grass-court titles in Stuttgart and Queen’s. The airline has also sought alternative measures that would allow airlines to continue flying through French air space when that country’s controllers take industrial action.

He has been replaced in the draw by lucky loser Elias Ymer of Sweden. He is the second man to withdraw from Wimbledon with Covid in two days after 2017 runner-up Marin Cilic of Croatia also tested positive. “I have no words to describe the extreme disappointment I feel,” added Berrettini. “The dream is over for this year, but I will be back stronger. It is business as usual at the Grand Slam this year after the tournament was cancelled due to Covid in 2020 and last year was played in front of reduced crowds. It is business as usual at the Grand Slam this year after the tournament was cancelled due to Covid in 2020 and last year was played in front of reduced crowds.” Players do not have to test routinely at Wimbledon this year, which is back at full capacity for the whole tournament after some restrictions were still in place in 2021. Covid infections are, however, continuing to rise in the UK, according to figures from their Office for National Statistics published on Saturday. Poland’s world number one Swiatek coasted into the second round with a routine 6-0, 6-3 victory against Croatian qualifier Jana Fett.9 million passengers.

Nick Kyrgios seemed to be saying a pox on all your houses in his first match. The French Open champion, who has won her past six tournaments, said she was relishing the atmosphere at the grass-court event. The 27-year-old, who came out on top in a fiery five-setter told rowdy critics in the crowd: “That one’s for you - you know who you are. “I feel I have only played 12 weeks of my life on grass but the whole atmosphere and tradition is pumping me up and just looking forward to the next matches,” she said.” The Australian defeated British wild card Paul Jubb 3-6, 6-1, 7-5, 6-7 (3/7), 7-5 on the back of 30 aces and 67 winners. But Kyrgios default setting is often aggrieved and so he was with the mouthy fans on a packed Court Three. Beaten French Open finalist Coco Gauff, the 11th seed, recovered from losing the first set against Romania’s Elena-Gabriela Ruse to win 2-6, 6-3, 7-5. Beaten French Open finalist Coco Gauff, the 11th seed, recovered from losing the first set against Romania’s Elena-Gabriela Ruse to win 2-6, 6-3, 7-5. He also demanded they be removed from the stadium as early as the first set.

A player, who crowds queue to watch, his insults kept flying, calling a one line judge “a snitch with no fans”. Williams, 40, won the last of her Wimbledon singles titles six years ago but reached the final in 2018 and 2019. However Kyrgios was not for turning and made an observation which could find broad agreement.. “Like someone just yelled out I was shit in the crowd today. Is that normal? No,” he said. “I just think it’s a whole generation of people like on social media feeling like they have a right to comment on every single thing with negativity.

“It just carries on to real life. I physically can’t do anything or say anything because I’ll get in trouble. They just feel the need that they’re just able to say anything they want.” Latest Stories .