Rafael Nadal on Friday won his first match since limping out of the Australian Open in January when he beat Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber in straight sets in the Davis Cup quarter-finals. The world number one Spaniard, who is yet to fully recover from a hip injury, won 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 in just over two and half hours in Valencia, stretching his winning streak in Davis Cup to 23 matches. The victory in the Plaza de Toros bullring levelled the tie after Alexander Zverev beat David Ferrer 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 in the opening rubber.
"Of course, it's a positive thing to win in straight sets," said 31-year-old Nadal, who has not lost a singles match in the Davis Cup since his 2004 debut.
"I played a solid match. I feel good when I return to the clay courts."
Nadal, building up to an assault on what he hopes will be an 11th French Open title in May and June, said it had been a special day playing on home ground again.
"It's a memorable day, in front of my own crowd. It's always special to play at home in these arenas.
"It's great to be back even if after an injury it's always difficult."
On Monday, Nadal returned to the top spot in the men's Association of Tennis Professionals world singles rankings, dethroning Switzerland's Roger Federer. Fedex, a 20-time Grand Slam champion, fell to World No. 2 after he lost to Australia's Thanasi Kokkinakis 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4) at Miami Open's round of 64 last month.