Rafael Nadal reached the fourth round at Wimbledon for the 10th time on Saturday with a straight-set win over Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego in a match that saw a short, spirited exchange between the two men.
Second seed Nadal, the champion in 2008 and 2010, took a victory 6-1, 6-2, 6-4. The 36-year-old needed back-to-back four-setters to make it to the third round and would be tested by Sonego, who made the fourth round last year.
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However, Nadal didn’t get a breakpoint until he dropped service in the eighth game of the third set, with his focus possibly affected by a stoppage to close the roof of the Center Court.
He quickly broke back and sealed the win.
However, Nadal seemed upset by the noise the Italian was making on the track. He even called Sonego to the net to discuss his displeasure, while the two then had a lengthy conversation while shaking hands.
“I didn’t make it in a negative way. I’m sorry if I bothered him, but I did it the right way,” said Spaniard Nadal.
“I feel really bad now if I bother him, so I feel sorry for that. That’s it – I’ll talk to him afterwards, but this is not a problem.”
Nadal already won the Australian Open and French Open in 2022 and is halfway through the first men’s Grand Slam calendar since Rod Laver in 1969.
“This was probably my best game here during the championships, against the hardest player I’ve encountered,” said Nadal.
“I was able to raise my level, I’m super happy about that.” Nadal then takes on Dutch 21st seed Botic van de Zandschulp for a place in the quarterfinals.
26-year-old Van de Zandschulp first made the last 16 at the All England Club with a 7-5, 2-6, 7-6 (9/7), 6-1 win over French veteran Richard Gasquet.
Nadal comfortably defeated the Dutch player in straight sets last month to take his 14th French Open title.
WORLD NO.1 STRIPE ENDS
Iga Swiatek admitted she was “confused” about her tactics after French veteran Alize Cornet ended the 37-match undefeated first division series at Wimbledon on Saturday.
Cornet, in 37th place, took advantage of a failure-packed performance from the Polish number one in the world to win 6-4, 6-2 over Court One in their third-round draw.
Swiatek was broken five times and made a total of 33 unforced errors in an unusually sloppy display.
The 21-year-old, who had won her previous six tournaments, including the French Open, said she struggled to control the ball.
“I know I didn’t play good tennis,” said the world number one. “I was quite confused about my tactics.
“As a solid player, she used that pretty well. It was definitely not a good performance from me.” Swiatek had not lost a game since her defeat to Jelena Ostapenko in February in Dubai.
Although she looked unbeatable on clay and clay courts, she had admitted that she had a learning curve on grass.
She had to battle hard in the second round to beat lucky loser Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove in three sets and has not yet beaten a top 50 player on grass.
Swiatek said she had not felt in her best form in practice at Wimbledon, despite her excellent form this season.
“I’m kind of aware that this can happen,” she said. “Maybe it’s not the right attitude to have, but it’s the way it is.
“I tried everything to feel better on a lawn, but it didn’t really work.
“That’s why I’m not even hard on myself, because it kind of makes sense that if I couldn’t find it even in practice, I won’t find it in a match.” By reaching the fourth round, Cornet equaled her point at Wimbledon in 2014, when she defeated Serena Williams in the third round.
“I have no words for it now,” she said. “It reminds me of the time I beat Serena exactly eight years ago on the same field. This court is a good luck charm for me.” The 32-year-old reached a milestone in her career by beating former number one Simona Halep and advancing to her first major quarterfinal at the Australian Open earlier this year.
“I’m like fine wine,” said Cornet, who is contesting her 62nd consecutive Slam, matching Ai Sugiyama’s record.
“In France, good wine always matures well, that’s what happened to me. It’s unreal — I’m playing one of the best seasons of my career.” Cornet will face Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic for a spot in the quarter-finals
BADOSA MARCHES ON
World number four Paula Badosa defeated two-time champion Petra Kvitova on Saturday to reach the fourth round of Wimbledon, where she will face another former winner, Simona Halep.
The Spaniard triumphed 7-5, 7-6 (7/4) to make the last 16 for a second straight year at the All England Club.
Badosa recovered from a 4-2 deficit in the opening set to defeat Kvitova, who committed a double foul when facing set point.
In a tighter second set, Kvitova was eventually undone by her all-or-nothing approach.
By the end of the game, she had made 34 winners and 31 unforced errors. “For me, playing Petra on grass is one of the biggest challenges,” said 24-year-old Badosa.
“But it’s a pleasure to face her. To me she is a legend and an inspiration
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