Monday, August 16, 2021

McDonald knocks out Nakashima in Cincinnati

Mackenzie McDonald evened his record against fellow California
native Brandon Nakashima at 1-1. 2016 photo by Paul Bauman
   In a first-round matchup of wild cards and California natives, Mackenzie McDonald defeated Brandon Nakashima 7-5, 6-2 today in the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati.
   McDonald, only 5-foot-10 (1.78 meters) and 160 pounds (73 kilograms), won 84 percent of the points on his first serve (27 of 32) and saved all six break points against him.
   In the players' only previous meeting, Nakashima won 6-3, 7-6 (8) in the Orlando quarterfinals last November en route to the first of his two Challenger singles titles.
   McDonald, 26, was born in Berkeley, Calif., and grew up in nearby Piedmont. He's now based in Orlando, Fla. Nakashima, who turned 20 on Aug. 3, is a lifelong San Diegan.
   McDonald reached his first ATP final two weeks ago in Washington, D.C., losing to Italian sensation Jannik Sinner, who turned 20 today.
   At 18 in 2013 in Cincinnati, McDonald became the first unranked teenager to qualify for an ATP Masters 1000 tournament, the men's highest level besides the Grand Slams.
   McDonald, ranked No. 63, is scheduled to face top-seeded Daniil Medvedev of Russia on Wednesday. Medvedev, ranked second, won last week's National Bank Open in Toronto.
   Medvedev, 6-foot-6 (1.98 meters), has won all nine sets in his four matches against McDonald. In their last encounter, Medvedev won 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 in the fourth round of the Australian Open in February.
   Earlier today, Ariel Behar of Uruguay and Gonzalo Escobar of Ecuador edged No. 8 seeds "Baltimore" Raven Klaasen of South Africa and Ben "And Jerry's" McLachlan (University of California, Berkeley, 2011-14) 4-6, 6-3 [10-8] of Japan in the opening round.

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