Nadal powers Spain into Davis Cup semis as Djokovic’s Serbia ousted - GulfToday

Nadal powers Spain into Davis Cup semis as Djokovic’s Serbia ousted


Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates after winning the doubles quarter-final against Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer and Maximo Gonzalez at the Davis Cup on Friday. Reuters

Rafael Nadal steered Spain into Davis Cup semi-finals with a 2-1 victory over Argentina after back-to-back wins in two matches on Friday. In the singles match, Nadal routed Diego Schwartzman 6-1, 6-2 to restore the parity for Spain after Guido Pella had put the Argentina ahead with a 6-7 (3/7), 7-6 (7/4), 6-1 win over Spaniard Pablo Carreno.

Nadal then combined with Marcel Granollers to beat the Argentine duo of Maximo Gonzalez and Leonardo Mayer 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 in a must-win doubles match to propel Spain into last four.

“I had a good singles match, but the doubles came down to a few balls because the game was very close,” Nadal said.

“It’s a great victory, but we don’t have time to enjoy it -- we have to rest because tomorrow it will be difficult again.”

Britain meanwhile eased into the semis with an efficient 2-0 effort over Germany. Andy Murray was rested on Friday but will likely feature in the semi-finals. In his absence Kyle Edmund beat Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 7-5 in the first rubber with Daniel Evans taking three sets to see off Jan-Lennard Struff 7-6 (8/6), 3-6, 7-6 (7/2).

Earlier Russia beat Novak Djokovic’s Serbia to reach the semi-finals following a cliff-hanger match that went all the way to a deciding tie-breaker.

With the quarter-final level at 1-1 following the singles, the Russian pairing of Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev faced Djokovic and Viktor Troicki in the deciding rubber.

After a see-saw match of high drama the Russians came out 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (10/8) winners and face Canada, quarter-final victors over Australia, in Saturday’s semi-finals.

“It was heads or tails and the coin fell on our side,” Rublev said.

“God gave me a chance to be a hero,” he added.

Kachanov was already looking forward to the next match.

“We’ll have to get it together for Canada,” he said of the semi-final. “Luck was on our side here, but this was one of the biggest games of either our careers.” Earlier in the day Rublev won the first singles over Filip Krajinovic 6-1, 6-2 to give Russia a lead, cancelled out later by Djokovic, who overcame Khachanov 6-3, 6-3.

The world number two Djokovic, winner of 16 Grand Slams said the match had been “a real roller-coaster of a game, very, very emotional and very tense”.

“Sport is not all about winning and losing but this hurts me personally,” said the 32-year-old.

“Anyway the season is over now, we’ll get over it. Tomorrow is another day.”

In the absence of Daniil Medvedev, the Russian star who pulled out of the event citing exhaustion, captain Shamil Tarpischev placed his faith in Rublev and Khachanov for both singles and doubles.

In the end, it all hinged on the doubles with Russia taking the first set 6-4. In the second set and with the Serbs up 4-2 Djokovic appeared to suffer discomfort from his right elbow, the same place where her reported pain at the ATP Finals last week.


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