Despite not showing his best form in recent weeks, Nadal was a huge favorite ahead of the duel with McDonald and barely anyone has expected a grand champion facing any trouble then. Rafa spent almost 4 hours defeating Jack Draper in the opening round, but showed some good signs of progress over time of this contest.
Today's match did not start well for Nadal, as he got broken in first ever game. McDonald was playing well and increased his advantage to two breaks. Nadal was trying to fight back, but the American clinched the first set 6-4. Second set showed the possible reasons of Nadal's poor performance, as he requested the medical timeout, suffering the hip pain. Rafa left the court for some time, but came back not wanting to give up. McDonald won second set with same score 6-4 and injured Nadal needed some miracle to come back here. Rafa managed to hold his service games, but lost it eventually 5-7.
It's the biggest career win for 27 years old American, who likes playing in Melbourne, as he made a deep run last year, reaching the Round of 16.
Nadal revealed the background of his injury, sharing his dissappointment during the post-match press conference. "I don’t know what’s going on, if it’s muscle or if it’s joint. have history in the hip. I had to do treatments in the past, address it a little. It was not this amount of problem, but now I feel I cannot move. I didn’t want to leave the court with a retirement. Better like this at the end. I lost. Nothing to say. Congratulate the opponent. Sometimes it’s difficult to accept. Sometimes you feel super tired about all this stuff in terms of injuries. Just can’t say that I am not destroyed mentally at this time, because I will be lying."