Nadal shines as Spain go 2-0 up

Nadal shines as Spain go 2-0 up

David Ferrer followed up to give the home side a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five tie with a 6-1, 6-4, 6-1 demolition of Gilles Simon, as Spain got their bid for a third title in four years off to a perfect start.

Nadal's participation in the match on clay in the sweltering Andalusian city of Cordoba had been in doubt after he lost a gruelling US Open final to Novak Djokovic on Monday. However, after flying straight back to join team-mates Ferrer, Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez and with little time to adjust from hard court to the red dust, he dispatched 15th-ranked Gasquet in a little over two hours.

World number five Ferrer needed only slightly longer to see off Simon, the number 11, to the delight of the typically boisterous red and yellow-clad home supporters baking inside the city's converted bullring.

"I was serving well, especially in the opening two sets, and that gave me a lot of composure," Nadal, dripping with sweat, said in an interview with Spanish television. "The effort was positive as if the game had dragged on it could have been tough for me," the 25-year-old added after completing his 10th win in 10 matches over Gasquet.

Spain can clinch a place in December's final against champions Serbia or Argentina when Lopez and Verdasco meet Michael Llodra and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Saturday's doubles, with the two reverse singles to follow on Sunday.

Federer scores
Roger Federer toughed out a 5-7, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2, 6-3 victory over Australia's Lleyton Hewitt to level Switzerland's Davis Cup World playoff tie at 1-1 in Sydney on Friday.

Federer's had almost "won" team-mate Stanislas Wawrinka's earlier rubber with hard-hitting Aussie teenager Bernard Tomic, who confessed to being a bag of nerves under his idol's stare.

Tomic quickly regained his composure in a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 victory which gave the hosts a 1-0 lead before Federer took care of Hewitt to restore parity.

"It's been a long trip for sure," said Federer, playing in Australia after squandering match points in the US Open semifinals against Novak Djokovic at the weekend.