Australian Open 2023: Rafael Nadal starts title defence with four-set win over Britain's Jack Draper

The 22-time Grand Slam champion, Spain's Rafael Nadal won the Australian Open first-round match against Britain's Jack Draper to kickstart his title defence here at Rod Laver Arena on Monday.

IANSUpdated: Monday, January 16, 2023, 03:39 PM IST
article-image

The 22-time Grand Slam champion, Spain's Rafael Nadal won the Australian Open first-round match against Britain's Jack Draper to kickstart his title defence here at Rod Laver Arena on Monday. The Spaniard registered a 7-5, 2-6, 6-4, 6-1 victory over the 21-year-old Draper to earn his first win of the 2023 season.

Nadal looking to extend record

Playing for a record-extending 23rd Grand Slam singles titles, Nadal is seeking his third Australian Open Trophy. He will meet American Mackenzie McDonald, who won 7-6(5), 7-6(1), 1-6, 6-7(10), 6-4 against countryman Brandon Nakashima, in the second round on Wednesday.

"Winning the Australian Open last year was without doubt one of the most emotional moments of my tennis career but unfortunately that passed. I have to keep working but I'm super happy to be back at Rod Laver Arena with the victory I needed. The last couple of months have not been easy for me but I hope this victory will help me," the defending champion Nadal said after the match.

Draper takes champion to 4 sets

After narrowly missing out on the opening set, Draper raced to a 4-0 lead in the second behind his driven forehand, playing with great confidence in his Australian Open debut. The match was in the balance as Draper clawed back from 1-4 to level the third set, but Nadal did just enough to keep his opponent at bay and squash any hope of an upset, with the fourth set never in doubt.

As the Spaniard reclaimed the initiative in the third set, Draper began to struggle with cramps and required treatment during several changeovers.

Both players produced some of their best tennis early in the fourth set, with Draper claiming his fourth break for an early lead. But Nadal rattled off the final six games as Draper's physical issues hampered him more.

(If you have a story in and around Mumbai, you have our ears, be a citizen journalist and send us your story here. )

(To receive our E-paper on WhatsApp daily, please click here.  To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

RECENT STORIES

Wrestler Babita Phogat joins Oversight Committee to probe sexual harassment allegations against WFI

Wrestler Babita Phogat joins Oversight Committee to probe sexual harassment allegations against WFI

Pathaan fever grips Team India as cricketers watch SRK's blockbuster in Ahmedabad ahead of 3rd T20I...

Pathaan fever grips Team India as cricketers watch SRK's blockbuster in Ahmedabad ahead of 3rd T20I...

Mumbai: Ajinkya Rahane set to join Leicestershire in hopes to make India comeback

Mumbai: Ajinkya Rahane set to join Leicestershire in hopes to make India comeback

IND vs AUS: Cheteshwar Pujara begins preparations for Border-Gavaskar series; See Pics

IND vs AUS: Cheteshwar Pujara begins preparations for Border-Gavaskar series; See Pics

We no longer trust that requested facilities will be provided: Australian on not playing practice...

We no longer trust that requested facilities will be provided: Australian on not playing practice...