Second seed Nadal looked far from his best at times but won on center court in a match that ended indoors after a rain delay in the fourth set.
“Yeah, it’s honestly not the best start,” Nadal said of Thursday’s victory. “I finished well. The fourth set was a tennis level for me, an important improvement. I have room for improvement in the rest of the things.”
Nadal is chasing a record 23rd Grand Slam title and a third Wimbledon trophy.
In other men’s events, former French Open finalist Stefanos Tsitsipasthe fourth seed, prepared a duel with another tough attacker Nick Kyrgiosadvancing to the third round with a 6-2, 6-3, 7-5 victory over Jordan Thompson Australia on Court No.1.
Tsitsipas broke Thompson in the final game to seal the win on his third match point when the Australian sent a shot long.
It is the first time since 2018 that he has been in the third round at Wimbledon, losing in the first round last year and 2019. Tsitsipas, who lost last year’s French Open final to Novak Djokoviche reached the fourth round in 2018 for his best career result at the All England Club.
“It’s definitely going to be a tough match on grass,” Tsitsipas said of the encounter with Kyrgios. “It’s a big contender for this surface.
Kyrgios defeated the 26th seed Filip Krajinovic 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 on Court No. 2, he reached the third round with a performance that ensured his tennis was the only theme this time around as he produced a string of hits that included 50 winners, 24 aces and a pair of ” crowd-pleasing tweeners.
Kyrgios never faced a breaking point and looked fully focused throughout the match without getting into any major arguments with the umpire or the crowd – although he did scold one fan for coughing during the second set.
The volatile Australian spat in the direction of a spectator he said had harassed him after his first-round win, leading to a $10,000 unsportsmanlike conduct fine on Thursday.
Kyrgios said of Thursday’s win: “I just wanted to remind everybody that I’m pretty good.”
Nakashima, who is ranked 56th in the world and advanced to the same stage at this year’s French Open, will next face Daniel Elahi Galan. The Colombian advanced to the third round when Roberto Bautista Agut withdrew from the tournament after testing positive for COVID-19.
All in all, it’s been quite a productive — and rare — start to Wimbledon for Nakashima, Fritz, Brooksby and the other American men: Eight will be in the third round, a quarter of the 32 remaining players. field, the most for a country at a grass-court Grand Slam since 1995. It is also the most at any major since the 1996 US Open.
“We’re going in the right direction. Obviously, the goal is not the third round. The goal is much further,” said Martin Blackman, general manager of USTA Player Development. “But when you get numbers like that, it’s an indicator of a process that’s working. So I think that’s what’s so encouraging. All the guys that are in the third round want to go a lot further; I don’t think any of them he is not satisfied.”
In 2013, zero men from the United States reached the third round of Wimbledon – something that had not happened since 1912, when no Americans entered the event.
“It’s great to see everyone doing well, going deep in these tournaments,” said Nakashima, a 20-year-old from California.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.