Australian Open defending champion Rafael Nadal manages to get through the first round against Jack Draper and reachcMackenzie McDonald in the second.
Overall, Nadal does what he has to do even if he suffers more than expected and wins with a 7-5 2-6 6-4 6-1 that he matures after almost four hours of play.
A generally good Nadal, who keeps the percentage of first balls on the pitch high and who can handle the weight of prolonged rallies without too much difficulty, after a very long study phase he gets the first break point of the match at 4-3.
Of course, he doesn't exploit it, but he still sends a great signal to the British tennis player that the serve on the street leaves him at the foot of the jeudecif. More than a drop, Nadal's in the second set is a meltdown.
Needless to say, the Spanish phenomenon is forced to cancel a handful of break points in order not to slip to 0-5. Draper takes advantage of it splendidly, obviously reinvigorated by the circumstances, who serves with very high percentages and who above all highlights all the limits of the defending champion, who commits thirteen unforced errors with his backhand alone and who struggles terribly to keep the ball in the game in the rallies prolonged.
Nadal practically has time to avoid the worst of epilogues and move the score in a handful of cases by the skin of his teeth. Nadal finds himself at 15-30 in the third game of the third set after a bad volley that he sinks into the net.
Draper accuses a small muscle problem and for a handful of games he is completely out of the game. He struggles to find support and speed with his forehand, yes, but he has the support from the opposite side of a Nadal who is 4-2 ahead by a break and plays a terrifying game and calls things into question again.
The Spaniard places his head ahead on 5-4 and tries to condense the vast majority of the energies available to move forward by a set. Despite fifteen unforced errors. Called to do something about 0-30, he however commits two puzzling mistakes.
Draper, who fights a battle even with deflated balls, still finds himself on 30-40 after a good maneuver by the Spaniard from the baseline and despite an ace on the T he does not find sufficiently valid weapons to regroup the score on 5-5.
After just over sixty minutes of play, Nadal wins a set that borders on the surreal. Nadal seems to be in much better shape at the start of the fourth set. He looks like it. After an arm wrestling that wins on the left diagonal and the 40-15 available, he turns off the light again and needs the consolidated straight serve pattern to cancel a break point.
Draper, less lucid in his tactical choices and decidedly less brilliant from a physical point of view, still gets a second break point. Nadal concedes a third and in an attempt to get rid of the prolonged exchange he offers the British a very simple short ball.
Nadal, who immediately recovers the disadvantage, at 2-1 at the end of a grueling exchange essentially gets himself a ball to make it 3-1 and wins. Also because Draper completely stops moving and limits himself to dragging himself from one side of the field to the other, shooting everything that comes to hand.
Nadal jumps to 4-1 without particular difficulties, lands another blow in response and despite some worries in closing seals the success after three hours and forty-one minutes.