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Nadal sets Spain on cup trail

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:57

Nadal – who failed to win in three attempts in the ATP World Tour Finals in London last week – edged a tight first set then went on to win 13 consecutive games before wrapping up a 7-5 6-0 6-2 win.

It was just the lift the Spanish supporters were hoping for ahead of the second rubber due to pit David Ferrer against Radek Stepanek, and made the hosts firm favourites to retain their crown.

The notoriously inconsistent Berdych acquitted himself well in a tight first set, his big first serves keeping Nadal at bay until the 11th game when the Spaniard grabbed his third break point chance by forcing Berdych to hit a forehand long.

After that there was no stopping Nadal, who blasted through the second set and went 4-0 up in the third as Berdych wilted and even the crowd in the Palau Sant Jordi became muted such was the one-sided nature of the affair.

Berdych rallied a little, finally winning a game when Nadal forced a backhand wide, and serving out again to reduce the deficit for 5-2 before Nadal typically made no mistake in serving for the match.

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