Wimbledon: Nadal swats aside Sonego in outstanding round-three win

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Rafael Nadal enjoyed serene progress into round four at Wimbledon with a stylish 6-1 6-2 6-4 defeat of Lorenzo Sonego on Saturday.

For the first time in SW19 this week, there was little evidence of Nadal's recent fitness problems as he completely outclassed his Italian opponent.

And on this form, the calendar Grand Slam appears a genuine possibility for the Australian Open and French Open champion.

Indeed, it was hard not to feel sorry for Sonego – and he did appear to have the sympathy of the Centre Court crowd – as Nadal's strokes painted pretty patterns around him.

The Spaniard remarkably dropped only two points on his own serve in the first set – both to double-faults. It was a similar story in Sonego's service games, too, as he held at the first attempt but then lost the next nine games in succession.

Such was Nadal's superiority a relieved Sonego lifted his arms to salute the crowd as he finally held serve in the fifth game of the second and was given a generous cheer.

That small victory scarcely slowed Nadal, who wrapped up the second on his own serve and then blasted Sonego away in the opening game of the third to break once again.

Sonego soon found a more effective way to hold up his opponent, however, appealing at length for the Centre Court roof to be closed and eventually succeeding after a brave hold and a handful of points on Nadal's serve informed officials he was capable of dragging the contest out under fading light.

So it briefly proved, as Nadal – perhaps irked by the delay – lost his composure and was broken to love after Sonego made a noise as he approached the ball; Nadal deemed the umpire an unnecessary middle man and called Sonego over for a word, clearly upsetting the Italian.

A fired-up Nadal immediately broke back, and after finally delivering a little drama, the match – and Sonego's campaign – was over.

Data Slam: Rafa ramping up

This was Sonego's first meeting with Nadal, and he might have picked a better time to face this fiercely focused great. The 22-time major champion has now won 10 third-round Wimbledon matches in a row, including the past four without dropping a set. Sonego had a hard enough time merely winning a game for much of the match.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Nadal – 24/17
Sonego – 19/17

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Nadal – 2/4
Sonego – 2/2

BREAK POINTS WON
Nadal – 6/8
Sonego – 1/1

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