Spain back in elite Davis Cup World Group after 2-year gap
TENNIS star Rafael Nadal and Marc Lopez clinched the Davis Cup World Group play-off tie for Spain with a hard-fought doubles win over India in New Delhi on Saturday.
The duo, 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 absence.
World No. 4 Nadal shrugged off early rustiness as the Spanish pair served past the Indian duo of Leander Paes and Saketh 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 with their respective wins.
But the 14-time Grand Slam winner made his presence felt in the doubles encounter at the RK Khanna Tennis Stadium.
"We are happy to be back in the world group and that's the most important thing. That's where we think we need to be with a lot of our players in the top hundred," Nadal told reporters.
"That was our goal and we did it. The team here and all the players who are not here have made their contributions and everybody is happy."
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.
Said Nadal: "He played a great match. It was a pleasure to play him in his country.
"One of the biggest stars of doubles and one of the best players in the history of doubles."
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.