Rafael Nadal, the defending champion, was forced to leave the Australian Open. In the second round, Nadal was defeated by Mackenzie McDonald 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 in two hours and 32 minutes, dropping significant points and adding to his woes that began at Wimbledon the previous year.
Nadal, who had a hip issue, had been having trouble from the second set’s closing moments but persisted in playing through it. With little form and a dislike of the balls, a 21-time Major champion was certain to fail at the Australian Open this year.
Additionally, Rafa had trouble settling into the game at Rod Laver Arena because the towels were too far away and the ball boys were not permitted to carry them to him. At 1-4 in the first set, Nadal clashed with chair umpire Marijana Veljovic, claiming that his service games are constantly under pressure.
After putting on a strong performance, Mackenzie defeated Rafa, losing service just twice while making five breaks out of eight chances. The American won the shortest rallies up to four strokes, kept the ball on his racquet, and prevailed in the final moments of the third set to advance to the round of 32.
McDonald made a break in the opening round and widened the margin to 4-1 in under 20 minutes! In game six, Nadal recovered one break and set up a break opportunity at 4-5. For a score of 6-4 in 46 minutes, Mackenzie provoked Rafa’s error and preserved it.
After exchanging breaks to open the second set, McDonald followed with three easy holds to keep the pressure on the opposing team.
At Rod Laver Arena, Mackenzie McDonald defeated Rafael Nadal.
At 3-3, Nadal blew a game point and missed a half-volley, dropping serve and losing the match.
In the eighth game, the American delivered an ace to secure the lead, and the Spaniard requested a medical timeout for his left hip. In order to extend the set, Rafa exited the court and held in game nine when he came back. After Nadal‘s worn-out forehand in game 10, McDonald held at 30 to close out the set and establish a commanding lead after an hour and 49 minutes.
In the third set, Rafa persevered and gave it all he had because he was hesitant to give up and risk further difficulties. At 4-4, he hit an ace on a break point and held for more excitement. At 5-5, Mackenzie tied the match. She then won the following point with a backhand down the line.
In game 12, the American took the serve and hit a service winner to win the match and eliminate the Spaniard. “Every time, even though I’m serving at a normal pace, I’m rushing. I always see five or four seconds left on the clock when there isn’t a towel present.
With you, it always remains the same. You don’t need to worry about it, but I can’t always take the towel after I’ve been out there and far away “explained Rafael Nadal.