Nadal powers Spain

Australia, Germany, Switzerland open up 2-0 lead
Last Updated 14 September 2013, 20:09 IST

Rafael Nadal made a seamless transition from hard court to clay when he crushed Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine 6-0, 6-0, 6-4 to give Spain a commanding 2-0 lead in their Davis Cup World Group playoff in Madrid on Friday.

Turning out for his country only four days after his US Open triumph in New York, the world number two showed no sign of fatigue or sympathy for his 92nd-ranked opponent as he dismantled the hapless Stakhovsky in devastating fashion at the futuristic "Magic Box" venue.

Stakhovsky, who caused a sensation at Wimbledon this year when he beat seven-times champion Roger Federer in the second round, raised his arms and was given a rousing cheer when he won the opening game of the third set.

He found the inspiration to hold serve three more times before Nadal secured the crucial break to lead 5-4 and clinched victory on his first match point when Stakhovsky sent a backhand service return sailing beyond the baseline.

It was the first time in 769 career singles matches that Nadal has won the opening two sets of a best-of-five set encounter 6-0.

In other World Group playoff matches, world number three Andy Murray beat 16-year-old Croatian Borna Coric 6-3, 6-0, 6-3 as Great Britain ended the opening day 1-1 in Umag.
Switzerland were unable to call on Roger Federer but took a 2-0 lead against Ecuador, with US Open semifinalist Stanislas Wawrinka getting his side off to a winning start.

Results: World Group play-offs: At Madrid: Spain leads Ukraine 2-0 (Fernando Verdasco bt Alexandr Dolgopolov 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2; Rafael Nadal bt Sergiy Stakhovsy 6-0, 6-0, 6-4).
At Groningen: Netherlands leads Austria 2-0 (Robin Haase bt Oliver Marach 6-4, 6-3, 6-1; Thiemo De Bakker bt Jurgen Melzer 5-7, 7-5, 5-7, 6-4, 6-1).

At Umag: Croatia tied with Great Britain 1-1 (Borna Coric lt to Andy Murray 3-6, 0-6, 3-6; Ivan Dogic bt Daniel Evans 6-3, 6-2, 6-3).

At Neuchatel: Switzerland leads Ecuador 2-0 (Stanislas Wawrinka bt Emilio Gomez 6-4, 6-3, 6-3; Marco Chiudinelli bt Julio Campozano 3-6, 6-1, 6-3, 7-6 (9-7).

At Ulm: Germany leads Brazil 2-0 (Philipp Kohlschreiber bt R Dutra Silva 6-3, 7-5, 6-4; Florian Mayer bt Thomaz Bellucci 6-4, 6-1, 6-2).

At Warsaw: Poland trails Australia 0-2 (Lukasz Kabot lt to Lleyton Hewitt 1-6, 3-6, 2-6 and Michal Przysiezny lt to Bernard Tomic 5-7, 6-7 (1-7), 4-6).

At Antwerp: Belgium tied with Israel 1-1 (Steve Darcis bt Dudi Sela 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 and Ruben Bemelmans lt to Amir Weintraub 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7-2), 6-7 (4-7), 4-6).

At Tokyo: Japan tied with Columbia 1-1 (Kei Nishikori bt Alejandro Falla 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 and Go Soeda lt to Santiago Giraldo 4-6, 6-3, 5-7, 6-3, 1-6).              

(Published 14 September 2013, 20:08 IST)

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