Rafael Nadal kept Spain’s Davis Cup hopes alive by beating Alexander Zverez on Sunday in the fourth rubber of their quarterfinal against Germany.
Nadal’s 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 win in Valencia drew the tie level at 2-2, with Spanish world No33 David Ferrer up against Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber in the fifth and decisive rubber.
Two breaks in each set were enough for Nadal to seal an impressively comfortable victory over Zverev in what was only the 31-year-old’s second outing since returning from a hip injury.
Nadal said after the match he is still regaining sharpness.
“The first set was fantastic,” Nadal said. “There were times when I lost a bit of control because the match was tough. I had not competed for a long time and to maintain the level of the first set was complicated for me.
“But in general it was a very important match and I am very happy.”
Nadal was forced to retire at the Australian Open in January but, back on his favoured clay, the 16-time Grand Slam champion showed little sign of rust against Zverev, who he has now beaten four times out of four.
It was also the 24th consecutive match Nadal has won in the Davis Cup.
He beat Kohlschreiber in straight sets on Friday after Zverev had overcome Ferrer. Germany then took a 2-1 lead when Tim Puetz and Jan-Lennard Struff won the doubles rubber against Feliciano and Marc Lopez.