Nadal drives Spain into Davis Cup semis clash with Britain
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BARCELONA – Rafael Nadal shone as he drove Spain into the 2019
Davis Cup semi-finals, triumphing in both the singles and doubles
rubbers in a tight 2-1 win over Argentina which wrapped up early
They will face Britain, who defeated Germany 2-0, while Russia's
dramatic 2-1 win over Novak Djokovic's Serbia puts them up against
Canada in Saturday's semis of the revamped tournament.
Spain's Pablo Carreno-Busta, chosen to stand in for Roberto Bautista
Agut, who left the tournament because of the death of his father on
Thursday, fell to a 6-7 (7-3), 7-6 (7-4), 6-1 defeat by Guido Pella
in the first singles match.
However Nadal levelled the tie at 1-1 as he made light work of Diego
Schwartzman, breezing to a 6-1, 6-2 victory.
The world No 1 was in irresistible form in the doubles as well,
alongside team-mate Marcel Granollers, earning a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 win
over Argentine duo Leonardo Mayer and Maximo Gonzalez.
The 2016 champions Argentina played their part in an enthralling tie
but Nadal delighted raucous fans on home soil as he booked Spain's
spot in the final four.
"I have been playing great," said Nadal after his singles
victory. "Great serve, played aggressive from the baseline, I had the
breaks early in the sets and that helps."
Andy Murray was again absent from Britain's team as he remains away
from his top fitness level, but Kyle Edmund recorded an impressive
6-3, 7-5 win over Philipp Kohlschreiber in the opening singles
Edmund hit 10 winners to win the first set in only 32 minutes and
although the German stepped up his game in the second, the Briton
held to love to triumph.
Dan Evans held his nerve to take the first set against Jan-Lennard
Struff in the second match, but his opponent swept back strongly
before the decisive third went to the wire, Evans triumphing 7-6
(8-6), 3-6, 7-6 (7-2).
"I lost some tough matches lately and felt like I've let the team
down in the last two days, so this is amazing for them, I'm just so
happy for them that we're through," said Evans.
"I served great, I thought I was playing well the last two days but
everybody in the team has kept me going, being positive, so it's
great to get through for everyone."
Earlier Serbian world No. 2 Djokovic beat Karen Khachanov 6-3, 6-3 in
their singles rubber to level at 1-1, after Andrey Rublev sent Russia
ahead with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Filip Krajinovic, with the tie coming
down to a thrilling doubles decider.
Djokovic and Viktor Troicki faced Khachanov and Rublev, with the
Russians scoring a nail-biting 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (10-8) win at the Caja
Magica in Madrid.
Serbia's 16-time Grand Slam winner lost his temper during the doubles
rubber, smashing a ball into the stands in frustration after his
compatriot hit a return into the net at 40-15 down in the seventh
game with Djokovic serving.
The two Serbians were frustrated with the officials, rowing with the
umpire and line judge as tension rose and tempers flared.
The match culminated in an epic tiebreak where Russia saved three
match points, clinging on to win.
The Serbian players were emotional when speaking to reporters
afterwards, with veteran Janko Tipsarevic, who is retiring, saying
his team-mates apologized to him for blowing his chance of ending his
career on a high note.
"A few of the guys apologized to me, I don't accept these apologies
because none of them let me down over all these 20 years," said the
"As for the team, everybody knows they are like my brothers and I
will be with the team in one capacity or another and would like to
thank them all for being with me on this journey."
Troicki, who missed an easy volley during the tiebreak which should
have won the match for Serbia, was distraught.
"I probably feel the worst ever, I've never experienced such a moment
in my career, in my life," he explained. "I let my team down and I
apologize to them."