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Spain ease through first rubber in Seville

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Originally published on: 02/12/11 17:18

Rafael Nadal opened Spain’s bid for a fifth Davis Cup title with a swift 6-1 6-1 6-2 victory over Argentina’s Juan Monaco.

The world No.2 showed little sign of the tiredness that saw him win just one of his three round robin matches at the World Tour Finals last week as he coasted to a third victory in four career meetings with Monaco.

The day in Seville had begun with patches of drizzle and fog, conditions that made centre court look a bit sad for a while as black plastic was laid along the baseline of one end of the court and alongside the net to collect the water that dripped down from the Oympic Stadium’s temporary roof. But by the time play commenced at 2.10pm, the sun was shining and the drums were beating in true Davis Cup fashion.

It’s an interesting sight to see a clay court built in the middle of a stadium that usually caters for over 57,000 fans. Temporary stands have been erected along the sides of the court and along one end where the TV booths are located, while some of the existing seating inside the Olympic Stadium is also used to accommodate fans.

A temporary roof covers the court while the rest of the arena remains uncovered – it is literally an inside court that remains open to the elements. As the sun came out, after the pageantry of the National Anthems and introductions of the teams, the much-anticipated 2011 Davis Cup Final at last got underway.

The first game, which lasted eight minutes, demonstrated at the outset what Juan Monaco would have to do to defeat 10-time Grand Slam champion Nadal. The Argentine faced three break points before finally managing to hold serve with an ace. Nadal soon stamped authority on the Monaco serve though and cantered away with the first set.

The second, which saw Nadal serving with new balls to begin, was much the same. Monaco was pressed hard on serve and although he held in the first game, he was broken again in the fourth and sixth games. Argentina found themselves two-sets-to-love down after just an hour and a half, but it certainly didn’t dampen the spirits of the South American support who did much to try and put Nadal off his stride, with little success as it turned out.

The third set saw a smattering of gripping rallies, most notably in the fifth game on Monaco’s serve. Twice he fell to the ground attempting to get to the ball and twice Nadal had the home crowd on their feet worshipping the talents of their very own King of Clay. When Nadal eventually wrapped up the rubber he looked like a man who had just won the Davis Cup, let alone the first rubber.

Speaking after the match, Rafa revealed he had enjoyed his own success but was keen to get back on court to support his team mate David Ferrer.

“We have to try and win the second point,” he said. “It will leave us to an advantage situation considerably, and it would be so good for us. It would allow the doubles tomorrow to play with more calm. 

“It would be important for Feli and Verdasco if we win tomorrow. So I’m just going to go and cheer David because it’s more support in the court.”

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