Rafa too strong for Monaco as Spain take Davis Cup lead
SEVILLE, Spain: Rafael Nadal brushed aside close friend Juan Monaco 6- 1, 6- 1, 6- 2 to give Spain the first point of the Davis Cup final against Argentina here yesterday.
David Ferrer and Juan Martin Del Potro were to meet later last night in the second singles rubber at the Estadio Olimpico, and history suggests that Argentina could ill afford to lose it – the last team to recover from a 2-0 deficit in the final was Australia in 1939.
Nadal may be suffering from mental and physical tiredness at the end of a gruelling season, but he repaid the faith shown in him by captain Albert Costa by winning in less than two and a half hours to maintain Spain’s 12- year unbeaten home record in the Davis Cup.
It was the Mallorcan’s 67th best-of-five-sets match on clay, and his 66th win, with his sole defeat coming at the hands of Robin Soderling at Roland Garros in 2009.
He was far too strong for his 26th-ranked opponent, returning superbly and not facing a single break point over the course of the match.
“I played a very solid match and I am very happy with my performance,” said Nadal after his 19th win in 20 singles rubbers for Spain.
His only loss came to Czech Jiri Novak on his debut – as a 17-year-old – in February 2004. He is 15-0 in clay-court rubbers.
Monaco saved three break points in the very first game, but was soon swept away by the six-time French Open champion in front of a hostile home crowd of 28,000.
Nadal sent down 27 winners to Monaco’s 17 while the Argentine was also undone by 35 unforced errors. The French Open champion also won seven of 14 break points.
Spain are bidding for a fifth Davis Cup title, and their first since 2009, while Argentina have never tasted victory in the event despite three previous final appearances.
Serbia lost out on the chance to defend their title when Argentina advanced to the final after a 3-2 semi-final victory in Belgrade last September.
Today, Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez tackle David Nalbandian and Eduardo Schwank in the doubles with the reverse singles set for Sunday.
They will see Nadal against del Potro while Ferrer is slated to face Monaco. – SAPA-AFP
RUTHLESS: Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates after hammering Argentina’s Juan Monaco in their Davis Cup final singles rubber in Seville yesterday.