It was a sensational display of grit and determination from American tennis player Mackenzie McDonald as the 27-year-old stunned defending champion Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open 2023 on Wednesday. McDonald, who is currently ranked 65 in the world, looked completely under control against an injured Nadal and he was able to clinch the second-round encounter 6-4, 6-4, 7-5. While Nadal was clearly suffering from injury for the later part of the match, it did not take away from the fact that McDonald dominated most of their exchanges and was able to break serve at crucial junctures.
McDonald, who was born in California, started playing tennis at the age of three under the guidance of tennis legend Rosie Bareis. At the age of 11, he started training under another tennis player who was once in the Top 10 – Wayne Ferreira of South Africa. With several college level awards under his belt, McDonald finally made his ATP Tour debut in 2013 after defeating two players in the world’s Top 100.
Mission accomplished for @mackiemacster 🇺🇸
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 18, 2023
This was the major feat for the youngster as he became the first unranked teenager to qualify for an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament since Sergio Casal achieved it back in 1995 at the Miami Masters.
In 2016, he was awarded a wildcard into the main draw of the US Open and although he lost in the first round, his meteoric rise made it a subject of interest among the fans. He kept producing impressive performances and in 2019, he caused a major upset by beating World No 10 Juan Martín del Potro.
The match on Wednesday incidentally was not the first time that McDonald faced Nadal. The last time that the American came face-to-face with the 22-time Grand Slam winner was in 2020 but the result was vastly different as Nadal eased past him in just under two hours with the score 6-1, 6-0, 6-3.
McDonald will now face the winner between Dalibor Svrcina and Yoshihito Nishioka in the third round.
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