Spain need Nadal to save them in Davis Cup

Philipp Kohlschreiber reveals tactics to face Rafael Nadal

After 4 hours and 51 minutes of epic battle, Ferer prevailed 7-6 (1) 3-6 7-6 (4) 4-6 7-5 to earn one of his most vivid wins ever and send his country into the semi-final for the first time since 2012.

Kohlschreiber also went down tamely in the second set, before putting up more of a fight at the start of the third, but 16-time Grand Slam victor Nadal was relentless and wrapped up the match. "Took us a while to really dig our teeth into the match and that second set tiebreaker was crucial for us".

"Of course, it's a positive thing to win in straight sets", said Nadal, 31, who has not lost a singles match in the Davis Cup since his 2004 debut and in doubles since 2005. "I feel comfortable back on the clay", Nadal said on the Davis Cup website.

And the world number one gave yet another demonstration of why he is known as the "King of Clay" to keep Spain in the hunt for a last-four spot, beating Zverev 6-1 6-4 6-4 at a packed bullring to square the tie at 2-2.

Rafael Nadal returned to action after a long injury layoff on Friday, comfortably defeating Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 to leave Spain even with Germany in the Davis Cup quarterfinals. "I am playing not just for me but also for Italy".

Croatia will meet the United States in the semis in September.

Spain joined the USA, France and Croatia in the semi-finals of the Davis Cup after a dramatic comeback on the final day in Valencia.

Spain squandered five break points in the eighth game of the decider and they ultimately paid the price when Marc Lopez, drafted in to replace an injured Pablo Carreno Busta, was broken three games later. Germany also won the doubles match on Saturday.

Tomorrow, Nadal will go toe-to-toe with Alexander Zverev, the world number four widely seen as heir apparent to the great Spaniard.

Holder France was tied 1-1 with Italy in Genoa, and 2005 victor Croatia was also deadlocked against visitor Kazakhstan after a day of thrilling action on indoor red clay in Varazdin.

The French doubles team - boasting the ATP's ninth-ranked doubles player Nicolas Mahut alongside Pierre Hugues Herbert - raced to victory in straight sets, defeating Italy 6-4 6-3 6-1.

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