Nadal returns, extends Davis Cup win streak

Jonathan Hernandez
April 9, 2018

And the world number one gave yet another demonstration of why he is known as the "King of Clay" to keep Spain in the hunt for a last-four spot, beating Zverev 6-1 6-4 6-4 at a packed bullring to square the tie at 2-2.

The 31-year-old Nadal hardly put a foot wrong on his return, having produced 14 of his 30 winners in the opening set of a lopsided contest.

Nadal was forced to retire from his Australian Open quarter-final against Marin Cilic in January but, back on his favoured clay, the 16-time Grand Slam champion showed little sign of rust against Zverev, whom he has now beaten four times out of four.

The Spanish pair won just two of 20 break points and fell 2-1 down in the tie, to leave Nadal - who returned from two months on the sidelines to beat Philipp Kohlscreiber on Friday - needing to overcome Zverev in Sunday's singles.

And he is hoping to take his second point for Spain this week as they battle back from 2-1 down against Germany.

This is the teams' first Davis Cup meeting since 2004.

Nadal and the local crowd erupted in celebration when the 33rd-ranked Ferrer successfully served for the match after breaking Kohlschreiber's serve in the previous game. Germany also won the doubles match on Saturday.

Croatia will host the United States in the other semi-final in September, after Cilic thrashed Mikhail Kukushkin 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 in Varazdin. Spain will now face France, which defeated Italy 3-1.

"I have always had great experiences in the Davis Cup and this is another opportunity".

Ferrer needed almost five hours to defeat Kohlschreiber 7-6 (1), 3-6, 7-6 (4), 4-6, 7-5 at the packed bull ring in Valencia, guaranteeing Spain's return to the semifinals for the first time since 2012.

The US were the only team to progress without losing a rubber, after Jack Sock and Ryan Harrison's doubles win over Belgian debutants Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen on Saturday.

In Italy, Lucas Pouille fired the French ahead with a labored 6-3, 6-2, 4-6, 3-6, 6-1 win over Andreas Seppi, before home favorite Fabio Fognini redressed the balance with a 6-7 (6-8), 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 defeat of Jeremy Chardy.

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