TENNIS | DAVIS CUP

Ferrer and López deliver the goods in New Delhi

Spain took a commanding 2-0 lead over India in the Davis Cup World Group Play Off despite the last-minute pullout of star player Rafael Nadal in New Delhi on Friday.

Ferrer and López deliver the goods in New Delhi
RAJAT GUPTA EFE

Team mates deny Nadal stomach complaint claims

Spain took a commanding 2-0 lead over India in the Davis Cup World Group Play Off despite the last-minute pullout of star player Rafael Nadal in New Delhi on Friday.

Feliciano López, who took court in place of Nadal in the first match, and David Ferrer claimed contrasting victories in their respective singles matches. The left-handed López served past Ramkumar Ramanathan 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 while the 13th-ranked Ferrer outplayed Saketh Myneni 6-1, 6-2, 6-1.

Nadal's absence proved to be an anti-climax for the packed crowd at Delhi's RK Khanna Tennis Stadium, but López and Ferrer made up for it with some quality tennis. Although the Indian organisers reported that Nadal was laid low with a stomach bug, his Spanish team mates insisted that a wrist niggle made the 14-time Grand Slam winner sit out.

“Rafa is OK. Nothing with his stomach. He had some problems with the wrist and hopefully he will play at the weekend”, López explained.

In the first match, López broke in the fifth game to go 3-2 up in the first set, setting the pace against an opponent who played his heart out in front of a raucous home crowd. The 34-year-old kept the momentum going in the second set with his excellent range of shots, seemingly unfazed by the hot and humid conditions.

Ramanathan, placed 203rd in the ATP rankings, broke López in the eighth game of the third set to pull one back and get the home fans behind him. But the Spaniard soon gained ground and showcased his superiority in the final set of the match.

Ferrer storms to win

Ferrer came out all guns blazing in the second match of the day to take the first set in just 21 minutes and unsettle India's Myneni, who is ranked 137th. The 2013 French Open finalist was broken just once in the sixth game of the second set to stamp his class on the match.

Ferrer, who stunned Myneni with his speed and baseline play, kept up the pace through the course of the match to wrap up things in just one hour and 28 minutes. Spain will stay in the premier World Group next year if they win one further match in the best-of-five rubber at Delhi's RK Khanna Tennis Stadium.