SYDNEY: Rafael Nadal lost a singles match for only the second time since July, and was two points from another defeat not long after that would have ended Spain’s run at the ATP Cup.
But after losing to David Goffin 6-4, 7-6 (3) in the singles on Friday, the top-ranked Nadal combined with Pablo Carreno Busta to win the deciding doubles in a match tiebreaker against Belgium.
The victory in Sydney put Davis Cup champion Spain into the semifinals against host Australia.
“David played a great match. Better than me. I was suffering a lot physically today. Was big humidity,” Nadal said. “But at the same time, it is fair to say that we are in the worst position to play the final eight, because we came from Perth. That’s these three hours’ time changing, different weather conditions, playing against a team that have been here for the last 10 days.
Rafael Nadal, who had not dropped a set this year before meeting David Goffin, faced not only heat but energy-sapping humidity in Sydney and struggled to deal with it, dripping in sweat for much of the match.
“And today we had very heavy conditions out there, so probably we had the worst situation possible to play this tie. We are super happy that finally we find a way to be in that semifinals, and tomorrow is another day.”
Second-ranked Novak Djokovic had a comeback 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (4 ) win over Denis Shapovalov of Canada to clinch a semifinal spot for Serbia against Russia.
Dusan Lajovic had earlier beaten Felix Auger-Aliassime and so Djokovic’s win sealed the victory, giving Serbia a spot in the semifinals. Serbia won the doubles to complete a 3-0 sweep. Roberto Bautista Agut had given Spain a 1-0 lead when he continued his run of straight-set wins with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Kimmer Coppejans.