Rafael Nadal Helps Spain Return to Davis Cup World Group After Toppling Valiant India
Rafael Nadal/Marc Lopez beat Leander Paes/Saketh Myneni in four sets, helping Spain take an unassailable 3-0 lead over India and enter the Davis Cup World Group after a two-year gap
Nadal/Lopez beat Paes/Myneni in four sets in the doubles match
Spain have taken an unbeatable 3-0 lead over India
Spain enter Davis Cup World Group after a gap of two years
Rafael Nadal and Marc Lopez clinched the Davis Cup World Group playoff tie for Spain with a hard-fought doubles win over India's Leander Paes and Saketh Myneni on Saturday.
Nadal and Lopez, who won the doubles gold at the recent Rio Olympics, helped Spain take an unassailable 3-0 lead to enter the elite group after a two-year gap.
World number four Nadal shrugged off early rustiness as the Spanish pair served past the Indian duo of Paes and Myneni 4-6, 7-6, 6-4, 6-4 in three hours and 23 minutes.
Nadal missed the opening singles match on Friday following a reported stomach ache as Feliciano Lopez and David Ferrer put Spain in firm control of the tie with their respective wins.
But the 14-time Grand Slam winner made his presence felt in the doubles encounter at New Delhi's RK Khanna Tennis Stadium.
Nadal's early struggle with his game saw the visitors lose the first set after being broken twice by an inspired home pair, who had the raucous crowd behind them.
The Spanish duo were also run in close in the second set but a crucial break in the 10th game proved to be a turning point for the visitors.
The tie-break win was enough to get the best out of Nadal, who showed flashes of his brilliance to entertain the capacity crowd.
India's Paes and Myneni fought valiantly against their opponents, never allowing the Spanish pair to breathe easy in the marathon battle.
The 43-year-old Paes with his neat serve and volley showed why he is known to be a dangerous doubles player.
But the left-handed Nadal, who was guilty of committing a lot of unforced errors in the first two sets, attacked the net with great success as Spain dominated the final two.
Marc Lopez, who is placed 15th in the doubles ranking, complimented Nadal's attacking style with his good baseline play.
Spain, who bowed out of the World Group after a first-round loss against Germany in 2014, now head into the elite round of matches.
The 'dead' reverse singles will be played on Sunday.