London [UK], June 29 (ANI): Competing on grass for the first time since 2019, Rafael Nadal stepped up to reach the Wimbledon second round for the 14th time on Tuesday.
The Spaniard showcased his trademark fighting spirit to overcome a tricky test from Francisco Cerundolo, advancing 6-4, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 after three hours and 36 minutes.
In front of a packed crowd on Centre Court, Nadal survived a mid-match comeback from the Argentine, who was making his debut at the Championships. After winning the first two sets, the 36-year-old suddenly found himself a break down in the fourth set.
However, with the pressure on, Nadal raised his intensity and increased his depth on return to regain control and improve to 31-3 on the season.
The second seed is seeking a record-extending 23rd Grand Slam title, having won the first two majors of the year for the first time in his career. He will face Ricardas Berankis in the second round after the Lithuanian defeated Sam Querrey 6-4, 7-5, 6-3.
In an eye-catching Wimbledon debut, Maxime Cressy's rapid rise continued. Relying on the serve-and-volley game that dominated the All England Lawn Tennis Club for much of its history, the World No. 45 earned his first Top 10 win by defeating Felix Auger-Aliassime with a near-perfect serving performance.
In a 6-7(5), 6-4, 7-6(9), 7-6(5) victory, Cressy charged the net 134 times, winning 71 per cent (95/134) of those points. In a match of fine margins, both players dominated on serve. The American saved the lone break point he faced -- at 5-5 in the opening set -- while sixth seed Auger-Aliassime saved three of four.
Now 7-4 on the grass at tour-level, Cressy advances to face qualifier Jack Sock in the second round after his countryman earned a 7-6(6), 6-4, 6-4 win against Bernabe Zapata Miralles earlier in the day.
Elsewhere, Stefanos Tsitsipas struggled to find his groove for much of his match against Swiss qualifier Alexander Ritschard at Wimbledon, but the fourth seed's resilience was enough to complete a 7-6(1), 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 first-round victory at the grass-court major. (ANI)