World no. 2 Rafael Nadal will not defend his Australian Open title. A 21-time Major champion lost to Mackenzie McDonald in the second round, struggling with a hip injury and losing 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 in two hours and 32 minutes at Rod Laver Arena.
Nadal felt problems while trailing 6-4, 5-3, already struggling to match the rival's pace. The Spaniard game his best to prolong the action in the third set, but McDonald delivered a late break that carried him into the next round and toward a career-best victory.
The American hit 14 aces and sprayed fewer errors than the opponent. Rafa converted two out of four break chances and suffered five breaks from eight opportunities offered to his rival. Mackenzie built a massive advantage in the shortest range up to four strokes, carrying him over the top against the defending champion.
Mackenzie McDonald stunned Rafael Nadal in straight sets at Rod Laver Arena.
Nadal made a terrible start and got broken in the encounter's opening game. With a boost on his side, Mackenzie broke again in the fifth game for a 4-1 advantage, with Nadal arguing with the chair umpire.
Rafa pulled one break back in game six, and Mackenzie served well in the remaining two games to claim the opener 6-4 and gain a massive boost. They traded early breaks in the second set to stay neck and neck. Still, the American produced three fine holds and broke the Spaniard in the seventh game to wrap up the set 6-4 and move closer to the finish line.
Nadal made one last push in the third set despite an injury and stayed in touch until 5-5. McDonald delivered the decisive break in game 11 and sealed the deal in the next one on his serve.