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Australian Open: Jack Draper loses to Rafael Nadal at Melbourne Park

Draper (proper) was making his Australian Open debut towards defending champion Nadal (left)
Dates: January 16-29 Venue: Melbourne Park
Protection: Commentary every single day from 07:00 GMT on Radio 5 Sports activities Further ‘Tennis Breakfast’ dwell from Melbourne, with chosen dwell textual content commentaries and match stories on the BBC Sport web site and app.

British rising star Jack Draper examined Spain’s Rafael Nadal earlier than bodily points value him in a four-set loss within the Australian Open first spherical.

Draper, 21, leveled at one-set every, resulting in 22-time main champion Nadal, 36, having a frank dialogue along with his staff earlier than the third set.

High seed Nadal led 4-1 however was nonetheless unconvincing as Draper broke again earlier than the Briton misplaced serve at 5-4.

Draper struggled to maneuver within the fourth as Nadal secured a 7-5 2-6 6-4 6-1 win.

Britain’s Kyle Edmund was additionally knocked out on the opening day at Melbourne Park with a 6-4 6-0 6-2 defeat by Italian fifteenth seed Jannik Sinner.

Edmund, 28, reached the semi-finals in 2018 however is attempting to rebuild his profession after a knee damage which wanted three operations earlier than he returned to the tour final yr.

Enjoying utilizing a protected rating, it was one other robust draw at a Grand Slam for Edmund after he confronted eventual runner-up Casper Ruud eventually yr’s US Open.

Cameron Norrie, seeded eleventh, is aiming to keep away from a clear sweep of defeats for the Britons within the males’s singles on Monday when he performs French wildcard Luca van Assche.

Within the ladies’s singles, Emma Raducanu made a constructive return to courtroom after her damage scare within the build-up to the Grand Slam.

The British primary moved into the second spherical with a straight-set win over Germany’s Tamara Korpatsch and might be joined there by Harriet Dart, who performs Swiss thirty second seed Jil Teichmann.

Encouraging for Draper however work nonetheless to do

For a superb whereas on Rod Laver Enviornment it regarded as if Draper may trigger a surprising upset towards a participant he described as certainly one of his “heroes”.

His ball-striking brought about issues for Nadal all through, however the bodily points which have dogged the left-hander’s burgeoning profession returned.

Draper collapsed on the Miami Open in 2021 with a heat-related sickness and was additionally compelled to retire from his US Open third-round match final yr when in an honest place towards Russian twenty eighth seed Karen Khachanov.

This time, he struggled with what gave the impression to be cramp and wanted therapy from the physio within the third set.

By the latter levels of the fourth, Draper – who has risen to thirty eighth on the earth after being exterior the highest 250 final yr – was unable to push off on serve.

Growing his physique for the trials of the ATP Tour was the precedence for pre-season after hiring former Olympic sprinter and bobsleigher Dejan Vojnovic as a health coach.

This was one other reminder the staff have extra work to do on enhancing the teenager’s physicality.

However performances like this reiterates he seems to have an thrilling future forward as he embarks on what continues to be solely his first full season on the ATP Tour.

“I performed one of many hardest attainable opponents within the first spherical,” mentioned Nadal.

“He’s younger, he has energy and has an amazing future forward. We’ll see him play for a few years forward.”

Nadal proves to be weak

Rafael Nadal celebrates beating Jack Draper
Nadal prevented changing into the primary males’s defending champion to lose within the Melbourne first spherical since Boris Becker in 1997

Defending champion Nadal is the highest seed within the absence of injured world primary Carlos Alcaraz however, after six defeats in his earlier seven matches, admitted he was weak to shedding towards Draper.

So it proved. Nadal was removed from his greatest, seeming to lack velocity and making a catalog of uncharacteristic errors.

Amid a backdrop of vocal help for the Spaniard, Draper began confidently and matched his illustrious opponent for the majority of the opening set.

Shot choice between the pair proved key within the pivotal levels. An audibly irritated Draper rued hitting a poor forehand into the web at 5-5 deuce on Nadal’s serve and was punished for 2 weak drop pictures within the twelfth recreation.

However Draper retained his stage within the second set and threatened to bagel the struggling Spaniard, who produced 24 unforced errors.

Nadal’s frustrations confirmed when he was concerned in an animated dialog with coach Carlos Moya and no matter was mentioned appeared to encourage the previous world primary to play extra aggressively.

Nevertheless, he was mainly helped right into a 4-1 lead by Draper throwing in a pair of double faults within the fifth recreation and the Briton’s weakening situation.

In the long run, Nadal cantered to the fourth set and secured a gathering with American world quantity 65 Mackenzie McDonald within the second spherical.

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