davis cup

Davis Cup: Spain leads Argentina 2-0


Rafael Nadal gave four-time champion Spain a 1-0 lead against Argentina in the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Final on Friday after the World No. 2 beat Juan Monaco 6-1, 6-1, 6-2, in two hours and 26 minutes, in Seville.
It was Nadal's 19th win in 20 singles rubbers for Spain, with his only loss coming to Czech Jiri Novak on his debut - as a 17 year old - in February 2004. He is 15-0 in clay-court rubbers.

Against a six-time Roland Garros champion, Monaco had his work cut out. The 27-year-old Argentinean came under pressure immediately in the first game, when he saved three break points to finish an eight-minute game with an ace. Nadal, by contrast, opened with a hold to love, then gained his first break point chance when Monaco hit a backhand into the net, after falling to 15/40. Nadal ripped a forehand down the line after a short backhand rally.
Nadal broke for a 4-1 lead, on his third break point opportunity, when Monaco - who had earlier won four straight points from 15/40 - hit a forehand into the net. The Spaniard won his sixth straight game, with a third service break, to 30, for the 48-minute set. Nadal had hit 10 winners and dropped three point on serve.
Monaco held to 30 for 1-1 in the second set, to stop a run of seven straight games for Nadal. At 1-2, 15/15, Monaco's task was emphasised, when he was in total control of the point, with Nadal soaking up the pressure from five yards behind the baseline. Nadal turned around the rally to hit a backhand winner down the line to leave Monaco motionless. Nadal went onto break to 30 and again in the sixth game. He dropped six points on serve in the 43-minute second set, which ended when Monaco hit a forehand crosscourt wide.
In the third set, Nadal absorbed Monaco's aggression in the fifth game to break serve. At deuce, Nadal scrambled back three defensive strokes before Monaco dived for a backhand volley that he hit into the net. At break point, Nadal showcased his speed and athleticism - with an exchange at the net - to get the Seville crowd onto its feet once again.
Monaco was broken for the seventh time in the match, to 30, at 2-4, to leave Nadal with an opportunity to serve for his 68th match win of the season (27-2 on clay). He closed out to love, having hit 27 winners - including 20 on his forehand. Monaco, who dropped to a 5-7 record in singles rubbers for Argentina (5-2 on clay), committed 35 unforced errors and won seven of 13 points at the net.
Spain defeated Argentina 3-1 in the 2008 final at Mar del Plata. The host nation lifted Dwight Davis' silver bowl in 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2009. Argentina is bidding to become the first nation from South America to capture the trophy.


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