Split ties a feature on Davis Cup day one


Rafael Nadal's return to action went smoothly as he cruised to a 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 victory against Philipp Kohlschreiber to level up Spain's Davis Cup tie with Germany.

Nadal contsantly pressured the Zverev serve, breaking on six occasions during the match, and proved he'll once again be the man to beat at the multitude of ATP events building up to the French Open.

"It was a solid match. It was a great match for me in an unbelievable atmosphere".

Nadal was forced to retire from his Australian Open quarterfinal against Marin Cilic in January but, back on his favored clay, the 16-time Grand Slam champion showed little sign of rust against Zverev, whom he has now beaten four times out of four.

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. Kohlschreiber twice fought back from a set down, but former French Open runner-up Ferrer broke in the 11th game of the decider and held his nerve on serve after nearly five hours on court. "I had a tough first set but I kept trying and was playing better and better and it was a great effort to come back and win this one", said Pouille.

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Spain semi-final opponents next are France, who reached the semi-finals for the third year in a row after Lucas Pouille beat Italy's Fabio Fognini 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (3), 6-3 in Genoa on Sunday and clinch the tie 3-1.

Croatia's Cilic breezed past Dmitry Popko 6-2 6-1 6-2 to give the hosts the lead against Kazakhstan but the visitors hit back after Mikhail Kukushkin overpowered Borna Coric 3-6 7-6 (5) 6-4 6-2.

"It's positive, winning in straight sets".

In Nashville, Ryan Harrison and Jack Sock can take an unassailable 3-0 lead for the United States and become the first team to seal their place in the semi-finals later on when they face Belgium's Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen in their doubles rubber.

Croatia will meet the United States in the semis in September following Jack Sock and Ryan Harrison's doubles win against Belgium's Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen on Saturday which gave the USA a 3-0 win.