Nadal swats Zverev aside to keep Spain alive

Alexander Zverev was no match for a fit-again Rafael Nadal, who charged around the bullring like a matador in Valencia.

World number one Rafael Nadal   -  Getty Images

A fired up Rafael Nadal kept Spain's hopes of reaching the semi-finals of the Davis Cup alive with a commanding straight-sets victory over Alexander Zverev on Sunday.

Nadal brushed aside Philipp Kohlschreiber in his first match since the Australian Open after recovering from a hip injury to peg Germany back at 1-1 in Valencia on Friday.

And the world number one gave yet another demonstration of why he is known as the 'King of Clay' to keep Spain in the hunt for a last-four spot, beating Zverev 6-1 6-4 6-4 at a packed bullring to square the tie at 2-2.

A prowling Nadal came up with 21 winners and world number four Zverev racked up 57 unforced errors as the 16-time grand slam champion extended his winning run to a Davis Cup-record 24 matches.

Nadal, backed by a partisan crowd on a sunny day in his homeland, was relentless, breaking six times and wrapping up the victory in two hours and 16 minutes. 

David Ferrer will face Kohlschreiber in the decider, with Spain eyeing a place in the semi-finals for the first time since 2012. 

Nadal said: "It was never going to be easy so I'm very happy to get an important victory for me and the team.

"I'm very happy with my level, the first set was fantastic in such an important match. It's a great feeling and very unique to play here in front of my people. It was a great match for me in an unbelievable atmosphere."