Davis Cup Tennis 2018: Rafael Nadal, Spain Advance in Quarterfinals Results

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistApril 8, 2018

Spain's Rafa Nadal returns the ball during the Davis Cup quarter-final tennis match against Germany's Alexander Zverev at the bullring of Valencia, on April 8, 2018.  / AFP PHOTO / JOSE JORDAN        (Photo credit should read JOSE JORDAN/AFP/Getty Images)
JOSE JORDAN/Getty Images

Lucas Pouille fired France into the 2018 Davis Cup World Group semi-finals after coming from behind to beat Italy's Fabio Fognini 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (3), 6-3 on Sunday. Pouille's win cemented a 3-1 lead for France and guaranteed them a spot in the last four.

Earlier on Sunday, Rafael Nadal beat Alexander Zverev 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 in Valencia to pull Spain level at 2-2 with Germany in their quarter-final, forcing a crucial decider with a semi-final spot at stake. In that rubber, David Ferrer got the better of Philipp Kohlschreiber.

Marin Cilic sealed Croatia's place in the final four with a win over Kazakhstan's Mikhail Kukushkin in the afternoon.

The United States have already cemented their spot in the next stage of the contest after speeding to an unassailable 3-0 win over Belgium, but Sam Querrey will nonetheless be in action later in Nashville, Tennessee.

Read on for a roundup of Sunday's quarter-final results and to see how the semi-final slate was decided.

             

Sunday's Results

Spain 3-2 Germany

Rafael Nadal (ESP) bt. Alexander Zverev (GER): 6-1, 6-4, 6-4

David Ferrer (ESP) vbt. Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER): 7-6 (1), 3-6, 7-6 (4), 4-6, 7-5

      

France 3-1 Italy

Lucas Pouille (FRA) vs. Fabio Fognini (ITA): 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (3), 6-3

     

Croatia 3-1 Kazakhstan

Marin Cilic (CRO) bt. Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ): 6-1, 6-1, 6-1

     

United States 4-0 Belgium

Ryan Harrison (USA) bt. Ruben Bemelmans (BEL): 6-3, 6-4

Sam Querrey (USA) vs. Joris De Loore (BEL)

Visit the Davis Cup website to view the competition bracket and results in full.

           

Recap

Pouille took care of business ahead of time for France and responded to a slow start in style, losing his opening three service games en route to a 6-2 pasting at Fognini's hands in the first set.

Tennis writer Tumaini Carayol pointed out just how poorly the Frenchman started in Genoa, Italy, particularly on his own serve:

Fortunately for France, an improved Pouille emerged from there and at least doubled that 26 percent first-service percentage in the remaining three sets, per Flashscore.com, laying a foundation for his comeback victory.

It was clear Fognini's frustrations intensified after missing several opportunities at set point in the third set, losing his first service set after that and failing to recover before Pouille opened to flash a forehand winner on the line:

As a result, France join the United States in the semi-finals and are still in with a shot of retaining their Davis Cup crown.

Broadcaster Nick Lester commented that Sunday's Davis Cup collision between Nadal and Zverev was the first time in two years that two top-10 opponents had faced off against one another.

A fiery contest was always expected, but Nadal proved his seniority on clay with a typically resolute run over his opponent on home turf, breaking Zverev at the first time of asking en route to taking the first set in 34 minutes.

The match became more competitive from there as both players dropped their first serves in the second set, although it was again Nadal's comfort on clay that kept aiming openings in his direction, via the Davis Cup:

The gulf in experience between the two became increasingly obvious, and Nadal's nous in these situations lent itself well to his ability to play under pressure while Zverev looked ruffled.

Shots that might have come off against other opponents didn't seem to be landing against Nadal, and the German cast a downtrodden figure when Nadal pushed a forehand down the line to clinch a third-set lead:

Winning the opening serve in the third set was the only juncture at which Zverev led throughout the match, and Reem Abulleil of Sport360.com praised Nadal's improved clay record in this competition:

The tie came down to the final rubber between Ferrer and Kohlschreiber, who served up a thriller of a match that was interrupted by adverse weather conditions. Ferrer dealt with the interruptions best, firing Spain into the semi-finals for the first time since 2012.

Kohlschreiber had his chances but couldn't step up when it mattered. His struggles closing out sets were most apparent in the third, when he went up a break three times and gave up a 3-0 lead in the tie-break.

Related

    Novak Djokovic Is Novak Djokovic Again

    Tennis logo
    Tennis

    Novak Djokovic Is Novak Djokovic Again

    Giri Nathan
    via Deadspin

    Ronaldo and Serena defy the race against time for elite athletes | Paul MacInnes

    Tennis logo
    Tennis

    Ronaldo and Serena defy the race against time for elite athletes | Paul MacInnes

    Paul MacInnes
    via the Guardian

    Rank these 10 memorable moments in ESPYS history From Jamie Foxx’s tennis balls to Drake’s side pieces to LeBron James’ prerogative

    Tennis logo
    Tennis

    Rank these 10 memorable moments in ESPYS history From Jamie Foxx’s tennis balls to Drake’s side pieces to LeBron James’ prerogative

    Martenzie Johnson
    via The Undefeated

    BBC coverage: British Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships on the BBC

    Tennis logo
    Tennis

    BBC coverage: British Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships on the BBC

    BBC Sport
    via BBC Sport