Ruthless Nadal hands Spain Davis Cup final lead | Pakistan Today

Ruthless Nadal hands Spain Davis Cup final lead

Rafael Nadal brushed aside close friend Juan Monaco 6-1, 6-1, 6-2 to give Spain the first point of the Davis Cup final against Argentina here on Friday.
David Ferrer and Juan Martin Del Potro meet later in the second singles rubber at the Estadio Olimpico, and history suggests that Argentina can ill afford to lose it — the last team to recover from a 2-0 deficit in the final was Australia in 1939.
Nadal may be suffering from mental and physical tiredness at the end of a gruelling season, but he repaid the faith shown in him by captain Albert Costa by winning in less than two and a half hours to maintain Spain’s 12-year unbeaten home record in the Davis Cup.
It was the Mallorcan’s 67th best-of-five-sets match on clay, and his 66th win, with his sole defeat coming at the hands of Robin Soderling at Roland Garros in 2009. He was far too strong for his 26th-ranked opponent, returning superbly and not facing a single break point over the course of the match. “I played a very solid match and I am very happy with my performance,” said Nadal after his 19th win in 20 singles rubbers for Spain.
His only loss came to Czech Jiri Novak on his debut — as a 17-year-old — in February 2004. He is 15-0 in clay-court rubbers. “I was very positive before the match even if there was a lot of pressure. It’s an important victory. To win by such a score against a very strong player on clay is fabulous. “I was sad for him as he is one of my best friends.” Nadal also praised the crowd which carried him to victory.
“I love playing at home. The atmosphere is great, it’s like a football match.”
Monaco saved three break points in the very first game, but was soon swept away by the six-time French Open champion in front of a hostile home crowd of 28,000.
Nadal sent down 27 winners to Monaco’s 17 while the Argentine was also undone by 35 unforced errors. The French Open champion also won seven of 14 break points. Spain are bidding for a fifth Davis Cup title, and their first since 2009, while Argentina have never tasted victory in the event despite three previous final appearances. Serbia lost out on the chance to defend their title when Argentina advanced to the final after a 3-2 semi-final victory in Belgrade last September.
On Saturday, Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez tackle David Nalbandian and Eduardo Schwank in the doubles with the reverse singles set for Sunday. They will see Nadal against del Potro while Ferrer is slated to face Monaco.

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