Nadal and Lopez lead hosts Spain through to Davis Cup final

By Sports Desk November 23, 2019

Spain will face Canada in Sunday's Davis Cup final after Rafael Nadal and Feliciano Lopez edged the hosts past Great Britain.

A gripping semi-final saw the singles split and the tie came down to drama in the doubles on Saturday.

The Spanish duo, in front of a partisan crowd in Madrid, survived a major test as Nadal and Lopez needed two tie-breaks to fend off Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski.

With Andy Murray roaring on the British team from courtside, his older brother and Skupski pushed Nadal and Lopez through two intense sets before falling just short, losing 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (10-8).

The British pair had set points to take it to a decider, but Spain, and Nadal in particular with one sublime overhead after a brilliant reach, produced their best when the pressure was at its greatest.

It was always likely Britain would need Kyle Edmund to win his singles rubber and he duly delivered with a 6-3 7-6 (7-3) win against Lopez – a late stand-in for the injured Pablo Carreno Busta.

But Nadal coasted to a 6-4 6-0 beating of Dan Evans, who tailed off after putting up a valiant effort in the first set against his more illustrious opponent.

And after the late-night doubles joy, with the contest finishing well after midnight, Nadal said: "I think we played a great match. 'Feli' served great the whole match and at important moments he did everything well.

"Thank you very much to Feli and the rest of the team."

Lopez said: "There was a lot of drama today on the court. We are very pleased we somehow managed to play those points in a very good way.

"It was a lot of drama but this is what you expect when you play this kind of match. I think we have a very good opportunity tomorrow to lift this cup."

Earlier, Canada reached the Davis Cup final for the first time in their history by winning a similarly thrilling tie against Russia.

Denis Shapovalov kept Canada in with a chance by beating Karen Khachanov 6-4 4-6 6-4 after Andrey Rublev overcame Vasek Pospisil 6-4 6-4.

And the Canadian duo defeated their Russian rivals 6-3 3-6 7-6 (7-5) in a thrilling deciding doubles rubber.

Related items

  • Tiley confident Australian Open plans close to being finalised amid cancellation reports Tiley confident Australian Open plans close to being finalised amid cancellation reports

    Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley is confident plans for next year's event will be finalised "very soon".

    Uncertainty remains over the scheduled first grand slam of 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    The start of the Australian Open looks set to be pushed back by a week or two, having originally been scheduled to begin on January 18, amid questions about the players' travel and preparation.

    In a statement, Tiley said details were close to being finalised, with reports on Tuesday having said the event could be cancelled.

    "Tennis Australia continues to work closely and productively with the Victorian government and we are confident we will be in a position to finalise details for the Australian Open 2021 very soon," he said.

    "We are also in constant communication with the global tennis community, including the Tours, the players and their teams, as we consult with them on plans for the event and how players can safely practise and prepare for a grand slam tournament under the Victorian government's proposed quarantine conditions.

    "Understandably there has been public speculation on the various plans under consideration as well as the many confidential conversations that have taken place and our position remains clear – everything will require approval and agreement from the Victorian government before it can be confirmed.

    "The protection and safety of the community remains paramount in the discussions.

    "Our team continues to work on delivering a fantastic – and safe – AO 2021 for the players, the fans, our partners and our staff. We look forward to announcing more details, including when tickets will go on sale, very soon."

    Victoria has been without a new coronavirus case since October 30.

    The Australian Open has started in January in every year since 1987, but Victorian minister for tourism, sport and major events Martin Pakula said last week next year's tournament was likely to be delayed by a week or two.

  • Del Potro admits to struggles in return bid, eyes Olympics Del Potro admits to struggles in return bid, eyes Olympics

    Juan Martin del Potro admitted he was struggling in his bid to return from knee surgery as he eyes next year's Olympics.

    Del Potro, 32, last played competitively 17 months ago and underwent a third right knee surgery in August.

    The 2009 US Open champion is still hoping to return, but admitted it had been challenging.

    "I am having a hard time coming back. I still stand by the desire that I have to continue playing," Del Potro told ESPN on Friday.

    "The reality is that it is difficult. I'm going to keep fighting as long as I feel like I want to continue."

    He added: "Due to the pandemic, the Olympics Games are next year and I'm excited to be there.

    "If I have to close my career, I think it would be to give myself an award to represent my country."

    A bronze medallist in men's singles at the 2012 Olympics, Del Potro won silver in Rio four years later, and said he hoped to retire on the court.

    The Argentinian also took time to remember the great Diego Maradona, who died on Wednesday.

    Del Potro recalled his meetings with Maradona during the 2016 Davis Cup final, which he helped Argentina win against Croatia in Zagreb.

    "In that Davis Cup final, every night, on my own without anyone knowing, I saw him 10, 15 minutes before going to sleep," he said.

    "He did it in private so that he doesn't disarm the team's structure."

    Del Potro added: "He sent me a very nice message after winning and I gave him my racquet."

  • Australian Open likely to be delayed, but only by a week or two Australian Open likely to be delayed, but only by a week or two

    The 2021 Australian Open is likely to be pushed back, but only for a week or two.

    Uncertainty has surrounded the scheduled first grand slam of next year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    Reports had suggested the Australian Open could start in March or April, instead of its scheduled January 18 beginning.

    But Victorian minister for tourism, sport and major events Martin Pakula said on Wednesday a delay of a week or two was looking likely.

    "I think that's most likely, but it's not the only option," he told reporters, via the ABC.

    This year's Wimbledon was cancelled and the US Open was played behind closed doors, while the French Open was delayed before allowing a limited number of spectators.

    Victoria on Wednesday recorded its 26th consecutive day without a new coronavirus case.

    Pakula confirmed players would be tested and contained in a bubble during the Australian Open.

    "It's fair to say that Tennis Australia and the playing group have been encouraged to keep the total number of people coming in, not necessarily to a minimum, but to a lower number than would otherwise be the case," he said.

    "People need to bear in mind that there will be an extremely rigorous testing regime that will apply to the tennis players both before they leave the port that they're coming from and when they arrive, and I would imagine consistently during the time that they're in their bubble."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.