Tennis

10sBalls | Rickys picks For Wimbledon Day 4 Rafa Nadal plays Berankis and Sock plays Maxime Cressy

Rafael Nadal survived a tough first-round match at Wimbledon and his draw has opened up, too, with Ricardas Berankis being next for the Spaniard on Thursday. Second-round action also continues with a showdown between Maxime Cressy and Jack Sock.

Here are my previews and picks for the two matchups.

Ricardas Berankis vs. (2) Rafael Nadal

A whole host of dangerous grass-court players have already exited the bottom half of the Wimbledon draw. Matteo Berrettini and Marin Cilic are out because of positive Covid-19 tests and Felix Auger-Aliassime lost to Maxime Cressy on Tuesday. Sam Querrey, who has enjoyed plenty of success at the All-England Club over the years, also bowed out in round one. Querrey would have been Nadal’s second-round opponent on Thursday, but instead it will be Berankis. This will mark the second-ever encounter and second of the season between the Spaniard and Lithuanian, as Nadal cruised 6-2, 7-5 at a 250 event in Melbourne to begin the 2022 campaign.

Playing his first match on grass since 2019, the reigning Australian Open and French Open champion struggled briefly on Tuesday. He squandered some of a big lead (two sets and a break) over Francisco Cerundolo, eventually trailing by a break in the fourth, but recovered to win 6-4, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4. Berankis erased Querrey 6-4, 7-5, 6-3. That is a good result for the world No. 106, but it was first main-tour victory since Dubai and he is just 4-8 lifetime in the Wimbledon main draw with no third-round appearances. The chips are stacked heavily against Berankis, plus Nadal can be expected to improve dramatically now that he has a match under his belt.

Pick: Nadal in 3

Maxime Cressy vs. (Q) Jack Sock

The eye test has always suggested that Cressy would be an outstanding grass-court player, and now the results are coming. In 2021, the UCLA product reached his first ATP quarterfinal at the 250 tournament in Newport. Although he lost right away in Stuttgart earlier this summer, Cressy successfully qualified in Halle and then made a run to the Eastbourne final (lost to Taylor Fritz in a third-set tiebreaker). The latter result confirmed that the 45th-ranked American would be one of the most dangerous floaters at the All-England Club and Auger-Aliassime was on the receiving end of a bad draw—and on the losing end of Tuesday’s 6-7(5), 6-4, 7-6(9), 7-6(5) result.

Up next for Cressy is a first-ever meeting with Sock, who beat Bernabe Zapata Miralles 7-6(6), 6-4, 6-4 in round one. It has already been a very successful stay in London for Sock, who had to qualify just to get into the main draw. The world No. 103 is now 8-2 on grass in 2022, with semifinal and runner-up performances at a pair of Challengers. However, his two losses (7-5, 6-3 to a struggling Dan Evans and in a third-set tiebreaker to Zizou Bergs) are not encouraging and he had not won a main-tour match since Indian Wells prior to defeating Zapata Miralles. Count on Cressy using his serve-and-volley tactics to frustrate Sock most of the way in a relatively competitive contest.

Pick: Cressy in 4

Wimbledon Hill 2022

Ricky contributes to10sballs.comand also maintains his own tennis website,The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at@Dimonator.

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