Rafael Nadal continues his chase for a thirteenth French Open on Wednesday, taking on Mackenzie McDonald for a spot in the third round. The Spaniard will have ample time to adapt to the conditions with his draw opening up even further after the first round exit of Fabio Fognini. Should he win this one, he will play either Kei Nishikori or Stefano Travaglia.
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McDonald made it past the first round in Paris for the first time after his four set win over Steven Diez. The American has made the successful transition from top college player to the tour, getting as high as No. 57 in the ATP rankings last year before injury struck. He is a very athletic player with impressive shotmaking although his serve may limit his ability to advance further in the rankings.
As expected, Nadal won his opener in straights against Egor Gerasimov. It was mostly straight forward but he did fall a break down in the third set of his 6-4 6-4 6-2 win over the Belarussian. “I played quite a solid match when I was serving. I was playing some good points. I did some good forehands, winners down the line. That’s a key shot for me. And then I had to play a little bit [deeper]. I played sometimes too short,” Nadal said afterwards.
This should be a fairly straight forward matchup for Nadal who will look to spend as little time on court as possible. The early concerns he will struggle on this surface will dissipate for now but may come up when he faces a potentially tricky opponent, something that seems unlikely until the quarter finals now. “The only thing that I can guarantee is I’m going to be here [and] try my best every single day fighting, and trying to give to the people my best every single day,” Nadal said.
Prediction – Rafael Nadal in straight sets