Nadal-inspired Spain move into Davis Cup final with Britain win - GulfToday

Nadal-inspired Spain move into Davis Cup final with Britain win


Spain’s Rafael Nadal (right) and Feliciano Lopez celebrate after defeating Great Britain’s Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski in their Davis Cup semi-final match. Agence France-Presse

Rafael Nadal led the Spain charge to steer them to the Davis Cup final for the first time since 2012 with a victory over Britain on Saturday.

Nadal combined with Feliciano Lopez to beat Britain in the semi-final in a double rubber. Spain were trailing 1-0 after Lopez lost to Kyle Edmund in singles earlier on the day.

Nadal defeated Dan Evans in his singles match to restore the parity before the Spanish duo defeated the Britain’s pair of Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (10/8) in the decider.

“It was a very special moment for us, a very unique opportunity,” said the 38-year-old Lopez. “We have a great opportunity to win this tournament here at home.”

Denis Shapovalov and Vasek Pospisil sent Canada into their maiden Davis Cup showpiece by edging out Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev.

Five-time champions Spain were indebted to world number one Nadal for a virtuoso display as the 33-year-old continues his hunt for a fifth Davis Cup crown, having first lifted the title himself in 2004.

Edmund had earlier justified the decision of British captain Leon Smith to select him ahead of three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray by seeing off Lopez 6-3, 7-6 (7/3).

But Nadal swatted aside Evans 6-4, 6-0 to set up the doubles showdown.

Murray and Skupski more than held their own in the face of a partisan home crowd and a pumped-up Nadal at the Caja Magica, but saw a break point come and go in the 11th game of the first set before losing a tie-break.

The Britons saw four set points pass them by in the second set, including three in the breaker, with Nadal saving one by producing an incredible lob on the stretch.

A place in the final was sealed on a second match point.

Earlier on Saturday, the 20-year-old Shapovalov had drawn Canada level by beating Khachanov after Rublev’s win over Pospisil in the opening match.

The Canadian pair then edged out Khachanov and Rublev in a thrilling deciding-set tie-break.

It was their third Davis Cup semi-final, after previous last-four defeats in 1913 and 2013.

Canada secured a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7/5) victory on their second match point to finish a tie which lasted six and a half hours.

Earlier, Shapovalov had seen off Khachanov, Russia’s leading player in the absence of world number four Daniil Medvedev due to exhaustion, in a dramatic match. The left-handed rising star, who reached his maiden Masters final in Paris earlier this month, saved three successive break points while serving for the match.


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