Rafael Nadal Leads Spain To Victory in Davis Cup Tie Against France

Vee JayAnalyst ISeptember 18, 2011

CORDOBA, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 18:  Rafael Nadal of Spain plays a backhand to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France during the third and final day of the semi final Davis Cup match between Spain and France at the Plaza de Toros de los Califas on September 18, 2011 in Cordoba, Spain.  (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

Rafael Nadal was back in action on September 16 doing battle at Cordoba in Spain in the Davis Cup semifinal tie against France

He was still recovering from the grueling four set match against Novak Djokovic in the final of the US Open championships held on September 12.

He shook off the disappointment of the loss and knuckled down to do his duty by his nation. He put on a masterly performance and looked more like the player we have known for years in his demolition of Richard Gasquet in the first rubber. He gave Spain a flying start by beating the French player 6-3, 6-0, 6-1.

David Ferrer, adopting a very "Rafa" like approach in his tenacity and determination, extended the lead to 2-0 by vanquishing Gilles Simon 6-1, 6-4, 6-1.

The Spanish team were probably hoping to win their doubles tie to ensure their star player would not have to tax his tired body further in the boiling heat.

But the French team of Michael Llodra and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga crushed the Spanish team of Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco 6-1, 6-2, 6-0.

So it was that once again the Spanish number one had to take to the field and this time against the French number one, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who was obviously the French captain Guy Forget's ace up the sleeve.

Forget must have decided that their best chances lay in winning the doubles and then springing a relatively fresh Tsonga on the tired Nadal.

No aces up the sleeves could work against an inspired Nadal and he routed Tsonga 6-0, 6-2, 6-4 to put Spain in the final to be played in December.

Verdasco won the dead rubber against Gasquet to have the results read 4-1 in Spain's favor.

Last year France had routed Spain 5-0 in the Davis Cup quarterfinals. So clearly, this year it was the presence of Nadal, not so much the absence of Gael Monfils, which made the difference.

Nadal needed to end the matches fast as his body could not have survived a protracted battle while still recovering from post-US Open exhaustion.

His performance was clearly a display of mind over body. This is highlighted by the comparable performance of Novak Djokovic in carrying out his Davis Cup duties against Argentina.

Djokovic, who had a much less grueling schedule at the US Open and had the title in his Monday match to buoy him up, did not play the first rubber. He then retired midway through the first reverse singles against Juan Martin Del Potro, thus leading his team out of Davis Cup contention for this year.

It was however disappointing to have Serbia crash out of Davis Cup as this means fans will not be treated to one more Nadal-Djokovic showdown.

Perhaps this was all to the good as Nadal has made it clear he needs to work on his Djokovic problem in the off-season. One more defeat in December would not have done much for his morale.

The Davis Cup team victory would have given the Mallorcan something to cheer about and inspire him as he prepares himself for the rest of the season and more particularly for the next season when he will attempt to win back his No. 1 crown.