Australian Open 2023: Defending champion Rafael Nadal bows out of the tournament

Melbourne [Australia]Jan 18 (ANI): Mackenzie McDonald upset top seed Rafael Nadal in the second round of the ongoing Australian Open on Wednesday at the Rod Laver Arena.

The 27-year-old McDonald dominated Nadal 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 in a match that lasted two hours and 32 minutes.

Nadal pulled away in pain with an upper left leg injury at 4-3 in the second set as he moved to his left to chase down a forehand at the opening point of the game. At 5-3, the defending champion and a physio walked off the court for a medical break.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion showed determination, but it was clear that the Spaniard’s physical condition declined as the match progressed. This is Nadal’s fastest elimination from a major since losing to fellow countryman Fernando Verdasco in five sets in the first round of the 2016 Australian Open.

During the match, McDonald broke Nadal five times before winning the last break in the third set at 5–5. The American passed Nadal, whose movement was restricted, with a shovel backhand passing line.

However, prior to his injury, McDonald showed no apprehension about the conditions inside Rod Laver Arena. In baseline rallies against the Spaniard, the Californian, who is mentored by former world No. 15 Robby Ginepri, was comfortable.

Nadal’s forehand was not avoided by McDonald as the lefty regularly struggled to keep the World No. 65 on the back foot. The American recorded the highest win of his career, hitting 42 winners compared to only 22 unforced errors.

“I’m really happy with the way I started that match. I thought I was playing really well, serving well, returning well,” McDonald was quoted as saying by I was actually carrying her.”

“It was really tough being a little busy out there mentally, but I found a way to get out of it, so I’m happy. He’s an incredible champion. He’s never one to give up, regardless of the situation.” Concludes McDonald Said, “It is always difficult to play against such a top player.”

McDonald, who reached the fourth round at the Australian Open in 2021, has now reached the third round for the second time.

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