Novak Djokovic inched closer to a record-extending 10th Australian Open title after he overcame a sluggish start to defeat Tommy Paul 7-5, 6-1, 6-2 in the semifinals at Melbourne Park, here on Friday.
Record-setting 22-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal has fallen short in the second round of the ongoing Australian Open.
The current Australian Open men’s singles champion struggled with an injury as he fell to American Mackenzie McDonald in straight sets on Wednesday at Rod Laver Arena.
In the second set, the Spaniard showed signs of a cramp or a niggle on his left leg.
When Nadal sought a medical break, he had moved to his left to pursue a forehand and pulled up in pain with what appeared to be an upper left leg injury. At that point, he was down 4-6, 3-5.
The King of Clay came back to finish the match, but it was obvious that he wasn’t physically up to par. McDonald won 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 in two hours and 32 minutes.
Last year turned out to be an eventful year for Nadal; he won the previous edition of the Australian Open and maintained his supremacy on clay surfaces by winning the Roland Garros.
“He’s an incredible champion.” He’s never going to give up, regardless of the situation. “Closing it out against a top guy like that is always tough. McDonald said after the match. He further added, “It was actually pretty tough to stay mentally engaged a little bit there, but I found a way to just pull it out, so I’m happy.”
McDonald will face the winner of Wednesday’s match between Japanese 31st seed Yoshihito Nishioka and Czech qualifier Dalibor Svrcina in the third round on Friday.