Rafael Nadal looked like he had not lost a step in his return to action at the Davis Cup quarter finals in Valencia. He turned what could have been a tricky matchup with Philipp Kohlschreiber into a comfy workout in his first match since losing at the Australian Open in January. He broke the German 7 times in the 6-2 6-2 6-3 victory to win in just over 2 and a half hours. “To play at home always is fantastic,” Nadal said afterwards. “It has been an unforgettable day. To come back after an injury is always difficult, and in front of my crowd, it was a little bit less.”
There will be tougher tests ahead for the now World No.1 with him being penciled in to play Alexander Zverev on Sunday. Zverev bounced back from the disappointment of losing the Miami final with a dominant performance to give the Germans the opening rubber of the tie. He was a bit shaky on serve on occasion during the 6-4 6-2 6-2 victory although it would not matter given his absolute dominance on return.
He broke 10 times overall, including every time in each of the final two sets. Zverev was complimentary of Ferrer afterwards but must know he will need to improve to defeat Nadal on Sunday. “He (Ferrer) can come back from any score so every point is important, every break is important and overall I’m happy with the attitude and happy with my game.” said the German.
The German doubles side of Jan Lennard Struff and Tim Puetz avoided a collapse from two sets up but were made to work for their 6-3 6-4 3-6 6-7 7-5 victory against Marc and Feliciano Lopez. They fended off multiple break points at 3-4 down before getting the breakthrough at 5-5 due to a Marc Lopez backhand error into the net. Tim Puetz would then serve out to love to give the Germans what could be a decisive 2-1 lead going into Sunday.