Rafael Nadal’s Australian Open title defense ends with injury-hit defeat against Mackenzie McDonald
of Rafael Nadal Australian Open The title defense ended prematurely on Wednesday as she lost to American Mackenzie McDonald 4-6, 4-6, 5-7 in the second round.
The 36-year-old Nadal struggled with a left hip injury throughout the match and needed treatment during the second set at Rod Laver Arena.
He managed to finish off the match going into McDonald’s in two hours and 32 minutes for the first exit from a Grand Slam since the 2016 Australian Open.
“I didn’t want to retire [as] Defending champions here. I didn’t want to retire and leave the court,” Nadal told reporters.
“It’s better this way in the end. I lost, nothing to say, congratulations [my] Rivalry It’s a game at once – do your best till the end.
MacDonald made a quick start to the match when he broke Nadal’s serve in the opening game.
He then did the same in the second set, taking over the contest with consistent, powerful hits from the baseline.
Nadal, seeking to extend his men’s record of 22 Grand Slam titles at the Australian Open, left the court for a medical timeout in the second set at 5-3.
The Spaniard was clearly struggling with his movement in the third set but still held serve at 5-5.
But then MacDonald gained the upper hand, securing the crucial break with a backhand passing shot as both players came to the net.
He wrapped up the contest in the next game when Nadal returned a backhand into the net to signal the biggest win of the 27-year-old’s career.
Macdonald, unseeded for the tournament, now has the chance to match his best ever run at a Grand Slam if he can beat either Dalibor Svarcina or Yoshihito Nishioka in the third round.
“Uh [Nadal] is a tremendous champion,” MacDonald said in his on-court interview. “He never gives up, regardless of the situation, so it’s always tough to close it out against such a top guy.
“I was trying to stay so focused on what I was doing. He kind of threw me out of rhythm but I’m glad I focused on myself in the end and got through it.
After the match, Nadal said he would undergo treatment to determine the exact nature and extent of the injury.
“If it’s a muscle, if it’s a joint, if it’s cartilage, it’s hard to decide … let’s see how the injury is, and then let’s see how I follow the calendar,” he told reporters. Can,” he told reporters.