While Rafael Nadal has looked vulnerable at Wimbledon through his first two matches, he hasn’t had an opponent good enough to take advantage just yet. It isn’t expected Lorenzo Sonego or either potential fourth round opponent will be but the opportunity still remains for the big hitters left in the bottom half of the draw.
Nadal was taken to four sets against another player with no grass pedigree, making hard work of Ricardas Berankis in his 6-4 6-4 4-6 6-3 win under the roof. It was not as concerning as his round one win that really should have gone five sets but that is now two gifted sets in two matches from Nadal who recognises he needs to get better this fortnight. “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.
Like Sinner and Berrettini, Sonego is another that doesn’t really follow the traditional style of Italian players in the past. With a bigger serve and flatter hitting, he is far more confident on quicker courts. He eased past Hugo Gaston in round two after avenging his recent loss to Denis Kudla by edging a five set thriller.
Sonego is definitely more suited to pulling off the shock victory here although managing to remain consistent enough over five sets is always the toughest part for lesser players against the very best. Another victory where Nadal looks in danger for small parts before eventually grinding the win out seems a likely outcome here. Sonego maintaining his level for the whole match seems unlikely although many of Nadal’s surprise Wimbledon losses have come against far less heralded heavy hitters.
Prediction – Rafael Nadal in four sets
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About Aaron Higgs
Experienced tennis writer with a focus on event previews and results.