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Nadal vs McDonald French Open tennis preview, head-to-head and predictions

hannahwilks in French Open 29 Sep 2020
Rafael Nadal (ChrysleneCaillaud/Panoramic.)

Twelve-time champion Rafael Nadal should be set to cruise past American Mackenzie McDonald at the French Open.

Nadal vs McDonald is live from Roland Garros on Wednesday 30 September, 2.30pm local/1.30pm BST

Rafael Nadal improved to 94-2 at the French Open when he defeated Egor Gerasimov 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 in the first round, despite a lack of match practice in the run-up to the tournament due to the unusual 2020 schedule and a shock early defeat at the Rome Masters.

French Open 2020: Find out tournament information for Roland Garros 2020 and how to stream French Open matches live

Nadal looks set to extend his current winning streak at the French Open to 23 matches as he takes on world no. 236 Mackenzie McDonald, who is 2-6 in ATP Tour clay-court matches, for a place in the third round.

Read on for our preview, predictions and live streaming information.

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Nadal vs McDonald: Head-to-head

Rafael Nadal and Mackenzie McDonald have never played.

Nadal vs McDonald: Preview

World no. 2 Rafael Nadal was perhaps the least perturbed out of everybody when he lost 2-6, 5-7 to Diego Schwartzman at the Rome Masters two weeks ago, in what was just his third win after six months out of competition due to the impact of the global pandemic on the tennis schedule.

Nadal served very poorly and his ground game also seemed poor, with balls frequently landing short (all of which was taken full advantage of by an inspired Schwartzman), but again, the Spaniard did not seem too worried about finding his game when he got to Roland Garros – nor should he have been, judging by his performance against Egor Gerasimov in the first round.

Admittedly not facing the heaviest opposition, Nadal had little trouble beating Gerasimov in just over two hours 6-4, 6-4, 6-2. He served at a healthy 63% and won all but eight of the points played behind his first serve, as well as 65% of points played behind his second serve; he was broken once, but converted all five of the break points he created on Gerasimov’s serve, and hit 32 winners and 20 unforced errors.

Despite everybody’s dire predictions, it looks like Nadal is doing exactly what he said he would try to do: Adapt to these different conditions, and do his best to replicate his previous successes.

Mackenzie McDonald (Mandatory Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports/Sipa USA(

Next up for Nadal is Mackenzie McDonald, who is not likely to give him too much pause. Ranked world no. 57 in April of last year, McDonald had earned that ranking with a run to the fourth round of Wimbledon in 2018, followed by more strong results in 2019 including a semifinal run in Delray Beach (where he beat Juan Martin del Potro), a win over Andrey Rublev at the Australian Open and back-to-back wins in Acapulco and Barcelona. But at last year’s French Open, McDonald incurred a hamstring injury which required surgery; by the time he returned in January, his ranking had slipped outside the top 100 and now outside the top 200.

There have been hopeful signs for McDonald, who beat Dominik Koepfer and Yuichi Sugita in qualifying for ‘Cincinnati’ and also pushed Casper Ruud to a fifth set in the first round of the US Open; he also had a good win over qualifier Steven Diez of Canada 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-4. He’s a good mover, and in normal French Open conditions I might like his chances to make an impact a little more, but under these circumstances he’s really going to struggle to get the ball through the court or to finish points against Nadal.

Nadal vs McDonald: Prediction