Rafael Nadal has showcased his strength on clay courts, defeating Germany's Alexander Zverev 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 to draw level at 2-2 for Spain in the Davis Cup tennis quarterfinals.
Nadal, playing his second official match after being out for three months with a hip injury, put on a dominating performance at key points on Sunday, proving that his physical issues are a thing of the past, reports Efe.
A sunny day on a clay court in this eastern Spanish city's bullring and the pressure to keep Spain alive in the Davis Cup was the perfect combination for world No. 1 Nadal to be more than motivated.
The 31-year-old stormed into the match, sealing the first set 6-1 in a little more than half an hour on the strength of his aggressive play and a powerful forehand.
Despite conceding his first service game in the second set, Zverev, who is tipped to be the next big thing in the tennis world, managed to turn up the heat and earned his first service break of the match.
However, one more service break in the fifth game was all Nadal needed to double his lead at 2-0.
A visibly upset Zverev, who fell 1-4 behind in the third, tried to fight back, winning the next two games, but it was in vain as Nadal remained calm and sealed the win after two hours and 16 minutes.
The quarterfinals continue with the decider singles rubber, pitting world No. 33 David Ferrer of Spain against world No. 34 Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany.
In Friday's opening singles, Zverev gave Germany a 1-0 lead by routing Ferrer in straight sets, while Nadal drew level at 1-1 with a convincing victory over Kohlschreiber.
Spain again fell behind on Saturday after the German pair of Jan-Lennard Struff and Tim Puetz defeated Marc Lopez and Feliciano Lopez (unrelated).