Lithuanian qualifier Ricardas Berankis overcame American Marcos Giron 7-5 6-4 in his Melbourne Summer Set opener on Wednesday (January 5) and will provide the opposition for Rafa Nadal in his first ATP Tour match since August.
Berankis broke Giron three times to take a tight opening set and sealed victory over the world number 66 in just over 90 minutes. Up next for the world number 104 at the Australian Open warm-up tournament will be Nadal, who is back in action after overcoming a niggling left foot injury that ended his 2021 season prematurely.
Nadal pulled out of Wimbledon, the Tokyo Olympics and the U.S. Open before returning to action in an Abu Dhabi exhibition event late last year. His last match on the Tour was at the Citi Open on Aug. 5 last year.
What a nice moment!
— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) January 4, 2022
The 35-year-old, who tested positive for COVID-19 last month, is also competing in the doubles at the event, partnering Jaume Munar to victory in a match on Tuesday.
Also on Wednesday, Jordan Thompson battled from a set down to beat fellow Australian Christopher O`Connell 1-6 7-5 6-4.
In the WTA Tour’s Summer Set 2 event, China’s Zhu Lin beat former U.S. Open winner Sam Stosur 7-6(5) 7-6(5). Local favourite Stosur will call time on her singles career following the Jan. 17-30 Australian Open, though she will continue to play doubles in 2022.
American Madison Keys fended off a late comeback attempt from Briton Harriet Dart to secure a 6-3 7-6(2) victory while Russian third seed Daria Kasatkina advanced after her compatriot Anna Kalinskaya retired while down 6-1 3-0.