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Rafael Nadal Struggles In Australian Opener, But Wins 4-2

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Rafael Nadal Struggles In Australian Opener, But Wins 4-2

(CTN News) – It never seemed like Rafael Nadal would become the first defending champion at the Australian Open to lose in the first round. This is because Carlos Moya beat Boris Becker 25 years ago.

It wasn’t a vintage performance from Rafael Nadal, who had an 0-2 record in 2023 and six losses in his past seven matches. Nearly two hours later, Nadal was even in a set.

Taking advantage of his opponent’s cramps on an afternoon with temperatures around 85 degrees Fahrenheit, Draper appeared to be pulling away in the fourth set.

However, he was up by a break. It took more than 312 hours for Rafael Nadal to win a record-extending 23rd Grand Slam by winning 7-5, 2-6, 6-4, 6-1.

I need victory, so that’s what I’m focusing on. It doesn’t matter how you do it.”

That’s okay, because he wasn’t in top form. All in all, it was tough. However, he tried to find a silver lining, given his recent track record and knowing he’d torn his abdominal muscles twice recently.

Rafael Nadal said he accepted there would be some ups and downs during the match. It’s normal when you’re not in a winning mood.”

There’s nothing much in common between them, whether it’s style, age, experience, or accomplishments.

As a result of Carlos Alcaraz’s injury, Rafael Nadal is seeded No. 1 for his 67th Grand Slam tournament. It was Draper’s fourth trip to a major, and he got to the third round at the US Open last year.

The Miami Open in March 2021 was Draper’s ATP Tour debut, and he collapsed on court after one set.

A trainer treated Draper during changeovers after signs of trouble showed up early. He massaged his right thigh later.

From the baseline, Rafael Nadal wore down Draper, engaging in exchanges before throwing a big forehand this way or that.

It’s been one of the most emotional tennis tournaments of my career. That’s for sure, Nadal said, after coming back from a two-set deficit in the final to win it. But it’s just the past now, so we’ve got to keep working.

Taking on Mackie McDonald, he won an all-American matchup against Brandon Nakashima that lasted four hours, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (1), 1-6, 6-7 (10), 6-4.

French Open second rounder Frances Tiafoe beat Germany’s Daniel Altmaier 6-3, 6-3, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (6) on Monday to reach the second round for the fifth time.

In the women’s bracket, Jessica Pegula, Coco Gauff and Danielle Collins, the runner-up at Melbourne Park in 2022, all made it to the second round.

In addition, 2019 US Open champ Bianca Andreescu, 2021 US Open champ Emma Raducanu, and sixth-seeded Maria Sakkari, while Victoria Azarenka beat Sofia Kenin 6-4, 7-6 (3).

Nick Kyrgios withdrew from the tournament, needing surgery on his left knee.

I’m devastated, of course,” said Kyrgios, a 27-year-old from Australia who won the men’s doubles championship a year ago.

There’s a chance Pegula and Gauff will meet in the semifinals; Collins could play No. 1 Iga Swiatek in the fourth round.

Pegula, a quarterfinalist in Melbourne the past two years, said it was just one of those days. “It always feels good to win a match like that. You just take it and don’t complain or criticize. You just keep moving.”

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