VALENCIA, April 6, 2018
Rafael Nadal celebrates a successful return to the courts, winning his first match since January against Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 to level the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas quarterfinal tie with Spain against Germany at 1-1 after the opening day.
In front of packed stands inside the Plaza de Toros in Valencia, Nadal broke his opponent serve seven times to celebrate his first match win on clay since the French Open in June last year. The encounter lasted two hours and 33 minutes.
He’s done it! @RafaelNadal defeats Philipp Kohlschreiber 62 62 63 to level the score on day one in Valencia
🇪🇸1⃣🆚1⃣🇩🇪 # DavisCup pic.twitter.com/tGXmvK0a91
— Davis Cup (@DavisCup) 6. April 2018
Nadal won his 23rd straight rubber and set the record for the longest Davis Cup winning streak in combined singles and doubles rubbers. The 31-year-old hasn’t lost a Davis Cup rubber since losing the doubles rubber in Spain’s 3-2 victory against Italy in the 2005 World Group play-offs.
“It’s a great feeling to be back, coming back from injuries is always difficult, but it’s great to be in front of my crowd on a very memorable day. I’m very happy with the match,” Nadal told.
“It is a positive result against a tough player. It will help me with my rhythm and the confidence. It is just a good way to start.
“However, I need to be more solid with my serve. Sascha will be a tough opponent (on Sunday). It will be a big challenge but also a great test for me. I hope to play good match. I will try to enjoy it.”
Zverev gives Team Germany the lead
Earlier in the day, Alexander Zverev proved to be too strong for local favourite David Ferrer, who was born only about 100 kilometres away from Valencia in Jávea, a coastal town in the province of Alicante. The World No. 4 was in total control of the encounter right from the beginning.
Ferrer seemed to be pretty nervous in front of his home crowd, produced 10 doubles faults and Zverev dictated most of the rallies. A very solid backhand and 27 winners helped the German youngster to seal victory in one hour and 55 minutes.
No pudo ser para 🇪🇸, pero esto recién comienza! pic.twitter.com/yCO9JfPaBv
— Copa Davis (@CopaDavis) 6. April 2018
“I had a very quick turnaround here, as I came to Valencia on Monday evening after Miami. With that I am very pleased. Of course there are a few things to improve but they are not surface related,” Zverev was happy with his first clay-court match of the season.
“I was a bit surprised, as I faced David Ferrer in the Davis Cup in front of his home crowd. The atmosphere on court was fantastic but I tried to stay calm. I played very well and overall I am pleased with my performance.”
Ferrer lost his very first Davis Cup match on the dirt.
“Sascha played very well and I needed to serve better having a little chance to beat him,” told Ferrer, who got broken eight times in a row during the match. “This has never happened to me before but this is tennis. Today was not a good day.”
The tie continues on Saturday with the doubles rubber. Feliciano López and Marc López are scheduled to face Tim Pütz and Jan-Lennard Struff.