Nadal-Lopez helps Spain return to Davis Cup World Group

Leander Paes played his best game with Saketh Myneni to put up a great battle against the Olympic champions Rafael Nadal and Marc Lopez. The Spaniards, however, edged past the Indian duo in four sets that helped their country return to Davis Cup World Group.

davis cup, rafael nadal, marc lopez, leander paes, saketh myneni

Olympic gold medallists Rafael Nadal and Marc Lopez overcame Leander Paes and Saketh Myneni.   -  Sandeep Saxena

Olympic champions Rafael Nadal and Marc Lopez sealed Spain's victory over India with a 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-4, 6-4 against Leander Paes and Saketh Myneni in the Davis Cup World Group play-off tie at the R. K. Khanna Stadium on Saturday.

Paes stepped up his game and inspired the 28-year-old Saketh to put up a good fight against the Rio gold medallists.

>Read: 'It was important for us to win doubles'

The Indian duo played brilliantly to recover from a slow start and was led the Spaniards 6-4, 5-3 but Nadal and Lopez turned the match around when Saketh was serving for the second set in the tenth game.

After saving a break point with an ace, Saketh erred and lost the advantage over Nadal-Lopez.

The Spaniards then saved two breakpoints to hold serve in the 11th game on Lopez's serve. They raced to a 5-0 lead in the tie-breaker before winning it 7-2.

In the third set, the Indian pair lost the momentum when Paes dropped serve in the third game. The match was alive again, much to the delight of the fans, when Nadal was broken at love in the second game of the fourth set. Nadal delivered a double fault on break point.

Paes did very well to save two break points in the fifth game to take a 4-1 lead, but the Spaniards broke Saketh’s serve in a long drawn seventh game to squash the Indian's advantage.

Thereafter, it was a lost cause for the host. Paes dropped serve in the ninth game, and Nadal served out the match without any fuss.

Nadal, who had opted out of the singles tie on the opening day, was pleased to have played his role well in putting Spain back in the World Group. He was all praise for the Indian team and the fight that they put up.

"Leander Paes is one of the best players in the history of doubles. For us it was important to get back to the World Group. It was a great match. Many thanks to all the fans," said Nadal, who conceded that India was "very close" to his heart as he had a part of his Foundation in Anantapur.

Leander Paes, who was looking for a record win in doubles in Davis Cup, asked the crowd for a standing ovation for the Spaniards.

It was a high quality fare that spanned three hours and 24 minutes, and the crowd responded promptly with a warm rounds of applause.

"They are a champion side. They fought for every point," said Paes, as he showered praise on the reigning Olympic champions.

Paes was equally appreciative of Saketh and said that he enjoyed playing with him. The fact that Paes and Saketh, playing for the first time together, pushed the Olympic champions to their best tennis, was a treat for the fans who thronged the stadium.

The results:

Spain bt India 3-0 (Rafael Nadal & Marc Lopez bt Leander Paes & Saketh Myneni 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-4, 6-4; Feliciano Lopez bt Ramkumar Ramanathan 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1. David Ferrer bt Saketh Myneni 6-1, 6-2, 6-1)