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Tennis
Nadal back to winning ways at Davis Cup
Back pain sees Djokovic pull out of opening singles match for Serbia as Nadal helps give Spain advantage over France.
Last Modified: 16 Sep 2011 17:10
Spanish fans cheer on Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer in the Davis Cup against France [GALLO/GETTY]

Rafael Nadal shrugged off his disappointment and fatigue from losing the U.S. Open final to rout Richard Gasquet 6-3, 6-0, 6-1 on Friday and help Spain take a 2-0 lead over France in the Davis Cup semifinals.

Nadal, playing on his favoured outdoor clay in hot conditions at Cordoba's bullring only four days after losing to Novak Djokovic in New York, mixed precision and power to give the hosts the early lead.

David Ferrer followed that up by beating Gilles Simon 6-1, 6-4, 6-1 as temperatures hovered around 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees F) inside the Plaza de Toros de Los Califas, with the humidity making it feel even hotter.

Spain have not lost on home soil since 1999 and need one more point to reach their sixth final since 2000.

Nadal was clear on who he would prefer to meet in the final as Djokovic's Serbia faces Argentina in the other
semifinal.

"Argentina. Argentina we would play at home and I have more relations with them than with the Serbians," said Nadal, who has lost six straight finals to Djokovic this season.

"I'm not particularly happy with the games I've played against Djokovic but the more I play him the better chance I have of beating him."

Uphill challenge

France captain Guy Forget's decided to leave Jo-Wilfried Tsonga out of the opening singles to rest for Saturday's doubles, when he will partner Michael Llodra against Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez.

France, who are without Gael Monfils to injury, have rallied from 2-0 deficits three times before but not since 1996.

"I think the double point was always the most accessible one for us on paper so we have to go for that," Forget said.

"(Spain) were better in nearly every aspect of the game today. (But) we still have a chance to win, I hope.''

Nadal, meanwhile, hasn't lost a Davis Cup singles match since his debut in 2004 and, despite draping himself in a towel to hide from the searing heat in the changeovers, that run never looked in doubt.

Djokovic's latest victory over Nadal came at the U.S. Open less than a week ago [GALLO/GETTY]

"Everything worked out for the best. At the start it was complicated and I was at the limit, physically,'' Nadal, who is 13-0 on clay and 17-1 overall in the Davis Cup, said.

"But the effort was positive and in all moments I did what I had to do."

Meanwhile in the other Davis Cup semifinal, Argentina took the lead over Serbia with David Nalbandian defeating Viktor Troicki 6-4, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.

Troicki had stepped in for U.S. Open champion Novak Djokovic who pulled out of Serbia's opening singles match on Friday because of back pain.

In Friday's other singles match, Janko Tipsarevic will face Juan Martin del Potro.

The top-ranked Djokovic also pulled out of Serbia's opening match of the semifinals last year against the Czech Republic because he needed rest after the U.S. Open.

He later led Serbia to their first Davis Cup title.

Djokovic is set to return on Sunday against Juan Martin del Potro.

 

Source:
AP
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