‘Preposterous’ Nadal feat stuns tennis
Rafael Nadal sent Spain's Davis Cup semi-final against Britain on Sunday morning (AEDT) into a deciding doubles rubber with a 6-4, 6-0 thrashing of Dan Evans in Madrid.
Nadal turned it on for his home Spanish crowd in the singles before stepping back onto court just a few minutes later to play in the deciding doubles tie with Feliciano Lopez against Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski.
A fired up Nadal delivered big time in a tense first set tie break where Spain was able to take the first set 7-6 (3) to have the home team one set away from the final.
The win over Evans came in a moment of incredible pressure for Nadal after Kyle Edmund had earlier beaten Lopez in the first singles rubber.
Nadal's win saw his Davis Cup career singles record improve to a freakish 28-1.
Nadal took a tight opening set on his third set point in the 10th game, before racing to victory with a run of eight straight games.
Nadal 6-4, 6-0 over Dan Evans, and Spain and Britain are now tied at 1-1. Will come down to the doubles again to see who will advance to face Canada in the finals. Have to imagine Nadal will be in the doubles lineup— Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) November 23, 2019
He is now a preposterous 28-1 in Davis Cup singles matches
Dan Evans did his best but the Nadal hammer came down eventually. Caja Magica erupts. Down to a deciding doubles rubber and an especially big test for Neal Skupski. He's been excellent but has never experienced this kind of stage.— Mike Dickson (@Mike_Dickson_DM) November 23, 2019
"A tough first set, he played well, changing the rhythm and playing aggressiv," Nadal told Eurosport after the match.
"After that I started to play with more freedom, less pressure, the ball started to go to the right spots. Super happy for the victory."
Earlier, Kyle Edmund beat Feliciano Lopez in straight sets on Saturday to give Britain a 1-0 lead.
The world number 69 claimed a hard-fought 6-3, 7-6 (7/3) win over veteran Lopez, who stepped in as a last-minute replacement for Pablo Carreno Busta.
The 38-year-old Lopez was broken in just the second game of the match as Edmund took the opening set, before seeing two set points come and go in the second.
Edmund clinched his third straight singles victory of the week on his third match point.
The loss created some unwanted history for Lopez, who became the biggest loser in the history of the modern game - losing his 445th officially recognised ATP Tour match.
The Davis Cup singles loss saw Lopez go above Fabrice Santoro's record of 444 official losses.
The winners will face Canada in Sunday's final after the North Americans edged out Russia in the first last-four tie.
That was Feliciano Lopez’ 445th career loss, the most by any ATP player. Surpassed Fabrice Santoro ( 444 )— Steph Trudel (@TrudelSteph) November 23, 2019
CANADA WINS DRAMATIC SEMI-FINAL
Denis Shapovalov and Vasek Pospisil led Canada to their maiden Davis Cup final with victory in a deciding doubles rubber against Russia in Madrid.
The 20-year-old Shapovalov had drawn Canada level by beating Karen Khachanov after Andrey Rublev's win over Pospisil in the opening match.
The Canadian pair then edged out Khachanov and Rublev in a dramatic deciding-set tie-break to set up a final clash against either Britain or hosts Spain on Sunday.
"I thought both teams played phenomenal," Canada captain Frank Dancevic said. "The Russians threw everything they had at us, it was just a matter of who came up with the better shots. There was no room for error today - they went for their shots, went big in the big moments, and here we are into the final."
It was their third Davis Cup semi-final, after previous last-four defeats in 1913 and 2013.
"We've got a huge day, a historic day for us tomorrow, and we're going to leave it all out there," said world number 150 Pospisil.
They secured a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7/5) victory on their second match point to finish a tie which lasted six and a half hours.
Earlier, Shapovalov had seen off Khachanov, Russia's leading player in the absence of world number four Daniil Medvedev due to exhaustion, in a dramatic match.
The left-handed rising star, who reached his maiden Masters final in Paris earlier this month, saved three successive break points while serving for the match.
The in-form Rublev had made it four singles wins from as many matches this week by brushing aside Pospisil 6-4, 6-4.
Canada have reached the final despite being without the injured Felix Auger-Aliassime, the world number 22, with Pospisil stepping up instead.
"I'm at a loss for words," Shapovalov said. "It's incredible how far we've come this week, with me and Vasek playing on a different level.
"It's unbelievable to see. And to clinch it like this, in the doubles, I wouldn't have it any other way."