Spain capped their return to the Davis Cup World Group by completing a 5-0 whitewash against India in New Delhi on Sunday (September 18).
World number four Rafael Nadal was rested for the two dead rubbers on the final day as Marc Lopez and David Ferrer maintained Spain’s dominance in the World Group play-off tie.
Marc Lopez beat Sumit Nagal 6-3, 1-6, 6-3 while Ferrer outclassed Ramkumar Ramanathan 6-2, 6-2 in the reverse singles matches at Delhi’s RK Khanna Tennis Stadium. Nadal, who pulled out of the opening singles match due to a stomach bug, ensured Spain’s re-entry into the elite group with his doubles win with Marc Lopez the previous day.
Nadal and Lopez, who won a doubles gold in the recent Rio Olympics, overcame a tough battle against India’s Leander Paes and Saketh Myneni 4-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-4 6-4.
The 43-year-old Paes, with his neat serve and volley, showed why he is a dangerous doubles player.
“He played a great match. It was a pleasure to play him in his country. One of the biggest stars of doubles and one of the best players in the history of doubles,” said Nadal.
Paes returned the compliments by praising Nadal and the Spanish team.
“We were playing the Olympic gold medallists. They were a tough world-class team. Marc and Rafa are great players. Rafa is a legend,” Paes said of his opponents.
Five-time Davis Cup champions Spain made their way into the elite group after two years. They had lost to Germany in the first round of the World Group in 2014.
“We are happy to be back in the world group and that’s the most important thing. That’s where we think we need to be with a lot of our players in the top hundred,” 14-time Grand Slam winner Nadal told reporters.
“That was our goal and we did it. The team here and all the players who are not here have made their contributions and everybody is happy.”
A delighted Spain captain Conchita Martinez echoed the sentiment, adding: “That was the main plan, to get into the world group. We’re very happy to finally get there. From now on we can dream bigger.”
The 13th-ranked Ferrer and Feliciano Lopez, who took the court in place of Nadal on the opening day, made things easy for Spain after winning their respective singles matches.
India will stay in their World group.