09 April, 2018
Nadal, playing his first match since limping out of the Australian Open in January with a hip injury, beat Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 in just over two and half hours in Valencia, stretching his winning streak in the Davis Cup to a record 23 matches in singles and doubles.
Nadal's coach Carlos Moya recently revealed Nadal is still not 100% fit, going into the match against Germany, but admits a couple of wins will give him the confidence needed ahead of his return to the ATP Tour.
It mattered little, however, as Nadal's thumping forehand secured a two-set lead and after the pair traded breaks at the start of the third, the home favourite moved through the gears and broke for 4-2 as Kohlschreiber went wide and then netted.
"It was a solid match".
"But in general it was a very important match and I am very happy".
Rafael Nadal will return to action in the Davis Cup.
Ferrer and Kohlschreiber's match was locked at one set each at the Plaza de Toros in Valencia on Sunday.
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He last lost one in company with Feliciano Lopez in Spain's 3-2 win over Italy in 2005. Kohlschreiber twice fought back from a set down, but former French Open runner-up Ferrer broke in the 11th game of the decider and held his nerve on serve after nearly five hours on court.
"It's positive, winning in straight sets".
Lucas Pouille's five-set win over Andreas Seppi in Genoa was followed by Fabio Fognini coming from behind to beat Jeremy Chardy in four.
"It's a great feeling", said Pouille.
In Varazdin, Ivan Dodig and Nikola Mektic overcame Kazakhstan's Timur Khabibulin and Aleksandr Nedovyesov 6-7 (2) 6-4 6-4 6-2 to hand hosts Croatia a 2-1 lead.
The US was the only team to progress without losing a rubber, after Jack Sock and Ryan Harrison's doubles win over Belgian debutants Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen Saturday.
David Ferrer will face Kohlschreiber in the decider, with Spain eyeing a place in the semi-finals for the first time since 2012.