Nadal and Spain Survive Marathon, Davis Cup World Group Semifinals Set
by Staff | April 8th, 2018, 7:57 pm

The table is set for the Sept. 14-16 Davis Cup semifinals which will feature the defending champion and the winningest country in Davis Cup history.
Quarterfinal Results:

France d. Italy 3-1

Lucas Pouille was the hero for the defending-champion French over the weekend. Pouille won the first singles 6-1 in the fifth over Andreas Seppi, then clinched in the first singles on Sunday, defeating Fabio Fognini from a set down 2-6, 6-1, 7-6(3), 6-3.

Fognini had the lone point for the Italians, beating Jeremy Chardy in four sets on day one. The team of Pierre-Hugues Herbert/Nicolas Mahut won the doubles point for France, easing past Simone Bolelli/Fognini in straight sets.

“We knew that before coming here it would be a tough tie,” Pouille said. “Now we are going to try and go on and defend our title.”

Spain d. Germany 3-2

Rafael Nadal in his return from injury and David Ferrer needed their all to edge past Germany in the fifth and final match, where Ferrer defeated Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-6(1), 3-6, 7-6(4), 4-6, 7-5.

Alexander Zverev put Germany ahead 1-0 with an opening straight-set win over Ferrer, but Nadal tied it 1-1 after beating Kohlschreiber in straights. Germany went ahead again after he doubles when Tim Puetz/Jan-Lennard Struff edged Feliciano Lopez/Marc Lopez 7-5 in the fifth. Nadal dominated Zverev 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 in the first match on Sunday to force the decider, where Ferrer upheld his reputation as the ultimate grinder.

USA d. Belgium 3-0

No shot for the defending finalist Belgians without top two players David Goffin and Steve Darcis, who were sidelined with injury. Nonetheless the Belgians made it interesting against a U.S. squad that struggled in two of the three matches in Nashvile, Tenn.

John Isner opened with a 6-3, 6-7(4), 7-6(8), 6-4 victory against Davis Cup debutante Joris De Loore, then Sam Querrey was strong in a straight-set win over Ruben Bemelmans. The Belgians then rolled out another pair of players making their Davis Cup debut, Sander Gille/Joran Vliegen, who led the match for almost two sets before falling to Ryan Harrison/Jack Sock 5-7, 7-6(1), 7-6(3), 6-4.

Croatia d. Kazakhstan 3-1

Marin Cilic started and finished on the right foot for the home Croatians on indoor clay, straight-setting Dmitry Popko in the first singles, then in Sunday’s opening singles straight-setting Mikhail Kukushkin to clinch.

Kukushkin posted his country’s lone point when he upset Borna Coric 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-2 in the second singles on Friday to even the tie at 1-1. Croats Ivan Dodig/Nikola Mektic won the Saturday doubles, defeating Timur Khabibulin/Aleksandr Nedovyesov 6-7(2), 6-4, 6-4, 6-2.

In the September semifinals France will host Spain, and Croatia will host the U.S.


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33 Comments for Nadal and Spain Survive Marathon, Davis Cup World Group Semifinals Set

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Rafa is such a legend.

This is incredible to think in 2018, but Rafa could be embarking on an all-time dominant clay season. He has set the bar so high that it requires near perfection through 4 or 5 tournaments. In 2010, he swept the 3 clay masters and the French (without dropping a set), skipping Barcelona. I think that’s his greatest performance, but he has multiple years of winning 2 clay masters + a 3rd masters finals, winning the French, AND winning Barcelona.

So you can’t really improve on perfection, but he could be on the way to entering another season into that list.

No one is favoured against Rafa on clay, but there are some players who have a better shot than others. And he does, usually, lose once of twice a clay season. But he just swept away Zverev. Roger is sitting out. Andy is out. Novak is not Novak. Wawrinka may or may not come back, but he’ll be rusty. We don’t know when Thiem will be back, and how quickly he can get into form.

Who else is there? Cilic has never done well on clay. Dmitrov either. The only player I can imagine troubling Rafa is Del Potro. And even that is such a long shot: DelPo’s made 1 semi at the French, and maybe 2 or 3 clay Masters semis.

Rafa on clay is not like any other player on any other surface. It is almost inconceivable that he would lose to someone outside the top ten on clay. Yeah, there was that time he lost to Soderling. And another to JC Ferrero, and Verdasco. No slouches on clay, even if lower seeds. But that’s 3 losses in 12 or so years. Other than that, his very few losses have been to Novak, Federer, Wawrinka, Murray, Thiem, and Ferrer. Those guys, in that kind of form, are just absent this year.

The next two months belong to Rafa.

Willow Says:

Tennis Vagabond fantastic post, your such a gentleman, and you havent got a nasty bone in your body, love your posts, your a very good reader of the game, nothing more to say ….

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Thanks Willow! Thats very kind of you. Who do you honestly imagine can hand Rafa a loss on clay this season? Will it be a top tenner or someone totally unexpected? Or will Rafa run the tables like 2010?

Willow Says:

Tennis Vagabond, well i suppose its like betting against the house lol, Nadal will still be the man to beat, the question is is he fully fit, and i suppose going by yesterday in the DC it looks like he is, Novak and Stan have ?s over their fitness, Andy isnt playing clay this season ditto Federer, which leaves the young guns and Delpo, who can beat Rafa over 5 sets, time will tell i suppose ?

skeezer Says:

Ferrer, nor Rafa, finished off Germany in a clutch match. Ferrer, in his own categories, is a legend also.

Daniel Says:


DonΒ΄t believe he will win everyhting like 2010. That yera was very particular as all MAsters had a week in between and he did not play Barca. also, he was 8 years younger and wa shis best year to date.

At least 1 loss will happen, but where and to whom is the question.

RG with his 2 straight sets win this weekdend seems a lock right now. Unless he runs out of fumes playign too much if he go deep in all toruneys. But, on paper he should be rest. he only played 5 matchs in AO and 2 more this weekedn. He never enterred a clay season thsi rested before. May be a bit rusty in first matches in MC, but one he gest his feet on clay, he will sotrm thorught it again me thinks. Unless a few players get hot in specifcs days agaisnt him: Theim, Zverev, Delpo, Djoko, Fognini, Ferrer, Dimi, Chung. Thyink only these can maybe get a win.

RZ Says:

Congrats to Spain! Props to Ferrer and Kohlschrieber for both digging deep in that 5th rubber.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Lol, Skeeze, come on. Give Rafa a bit of credit here. Ferrer is indeed a Davis Cup hero, but he’s no legend. He went 1-1 this weekend, losing to Zverev. Rafa came back from an injury, missing tree tournaments, and went 2-0, demolishing Zverev.

It won’t cost you anything to give Rafa credit without backhanded jibes- I promise!

How do you think he will do this spring, and who do you think has the best chance of beating him?

Daniel, as I said above, I don’t think Dmitrov has the clay chops, Ferrer is way past his prime, Zverev just got wiped out in a come-back match… Maybe Thiem and Fognini have a shot. Don’t know about Chung, but would be great to see him have a big clay season. Anyone know how he’s done on clay?

Tennis Vagabond Says:

He really misses those tree tournaments…but they are too dangerous.

Okiegal Says:

Congrats to the Spanish Armada……it takes a whole team to win Davis Cup! I love the way those guys never stopped cheering for David. What a great match and Skeezer is spot on…….David is a champion in his own right. Kohl played a great match as well…… such an entertaining display of shot making! Good luck to Spain when they play the French team!

lylenubbins Says:

Rafa is my favorite player and I was thrilled to see him beat Zverev.

That said, Rafa hit a lot of short balls which is what we have seen the last few years early in the clay season. When Rafa is hitting short, he can be beat even on clay. I think Zverev with his height could have beaten Rafa yesterday or at least pushed him harder, but he was not able to seize the opportunity.

Agree that once Rafa gets in the groove on clay, and gets better length of shot, he will steamroll everyone and I hope he stays healthy and does that this year!

skeezer Says:

You must not read every post I write, lol ;)
I did say Rafa was da boss in his win over Z, and there was my “Forehanded” jibe ;)

lylenubbins Says:

Also FWIW I thought other than Rafa Thiem had the best form on clay last year and I saw him as the biggest threat to Rafa. Tremendous kick serve on the dirt.

Willow Says:

I Dont know if he will steam roll everyone, i just think for obvious reasons hes still the man to beat, like Daniel says hes much older now, so i would think its looking a lot less likely than in previous years, i think other players stand a better chance in B of 3 sets, B of 5 i would give Delpo, Stan or Novak the best chance, although much would depend on their fitness ….

Daniel Says:


Same was thought of Soderling back in 09′. Any of these guys can play well in one day. Zverev got a win over Rafa last year in Rome.

Also, after Fed hit 30, he started having more off days. Nadal rarelly has one of those, he plays with a lot of margins and usually always plays well. Maybe not enough to win, but its hard for us to point a day where Nadal played bad. Now he is almost 32, eventually he will have one of those days, even for his clay standard and a hot player cnaΒ΄t beat him.

But we need a combination of these 2 for a healthy Nadal on clay: Rafa playing bellow his clay level and a player playing above his normal level.

tennismonger Says:

So, in other words…Nearly 10 years later, will the next Robin Soderling please step up! πŸ˜‰

Congrats to S-Armada, & yes, Davide is a legend…should Rafa fall by the wayside @ RG, justice dictates that Davide grabs that trophy!

Daniel Says:


“B of 5 i would give Delpo, Stan or Novak the best chance, although much would depend on their fitness ….” And how soon they play him. If these meeting happens in semis or final in RG, no chance!

Soderling beat him in R16 in 09′ and Djoko QF 2015. He is a perfect 10-0 semis and finals. Once he is deep in RG, something triggers in him and he produces his best.

Agree, best of 3 he probably will lose at least 1 match in either MC, Barca, Madrid or Rome.

Willow Says:

Daveed was absolutely amazing, agree it shouldnt all be about Rafa, and as much as i would love Rafa to win another FO, how could anyway not be happy for the little engine if he did it ? ….

tennismonger Says:

@ Daniel –
Zverev’s stunning play for the last year-and-a-half may have blurred our collective recollections…of the Big 4, Zverev only owns wins over Novak & Roger.

As for Andy & Rafa…Nada!

Daniel Says:


Damm, I am going crazy with this young ones;-) It was to Thiem Nadal lost in Rome.

tennismonger Says:

Yep, I had to look it up too…Sascha’s had some good wins for sure but Rafa has his number for now!

Giles Says:

Why are you people so invested in Rafa losing on clay? I say let him reign while he can. He is a joy to watch dancing and sliding around on this surface; there isn’t a better sight to watch. So, enjoy him while you can, he won’t be around forever.
Long may Rafael Nadal reign!

Markus Says:

If Rafa stops playing on all the other surfaces and focuses only on clay, he will probably remain as the king of the surface for another three, maybe more years. He is that good and that much better than anybody else on that surface. A dozen French Open titles is a realistic number for him.

Willow Says:

Giles well said im not, let him win it till he retires for all i care, no fan gives a wotsit when their own personal favorite is hoovering up the titles either ….

skeezer Says:

Your world is a Rafa world. Not everyone lives in your everything Rafa world.

Giles Says:

Your world is a Federer world. Not everyone lives in your Federer everything world.

skeezer Says:

Quite the contrary. I post here regardless of what Fed is doing. I don’t scour twitter for everything Rafa. πŸ˜›

Giles Says:

^^^ Maybe you have no idea how to scour twitter. I mean, do you know whose accounts have the most interesting news? No? I thought so! Lol

Okiegal Says:

I do……….that is……..scour Twitter for everything Rafa….. and you tube……and Facebook….. and Google!! Ok, go ahead and just shoot me……I’m obsessed and I admit it!!

Willow Says:

I do go on Rafas page of FB, but i go on alot of pages on FB, i generally stick to chatting with my fellow friends on there about many things none tennis related, wanting your favorite to win doesnt make them obsessive, i dont know why it is that Rafa fans are considered as been the obsessive ones all the time ?

Willow Says:

I Enjoy watching Rafa, the mans won 16 friggin GS for crying out loud, its nothing to do with what he looks like either, i just enjoy watching him play ….

skeezer Says:

Here is someone else you should be watching,*
Another Rafa beater.

*No Twitter search required

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