Defending champion Rafael Nadal is knocked out of the Australian Open in the second round

Rafael Nadal

Wednesday’s second-round loss to Mackenzie McDonald eliminated defending champion Rafael Nadal from the Australian Open.

At Rod Laver Arena, Nadal lost 4-6, 4-6, 5-7 to lose his 23rd Grand Slam singles title.

McDonald advanced.

The 35-year-old Spaniard sought a medical timeout near the end of the second set, although it was unclear what was wrong.

Nadal’s earliest Grand Slam elimination since losing in the first round in Melbourne in 2016 to No. 45 Fernando Verdasco. Verdasco was the lowest-ranked player to upset Nadal in Australia until McDonald on Wednesday.

Rafael Nadal won his second Australian Open and his 22nd major at Roland Garros a year ago.

Because No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz is injured, he was the top seed at Melbourne Park.

McDonald has never advanced past the fourth round in a major. McDonald won four games versus Nadal at the 2020 French Open.