The Malta Independent 12 August 2020, Wednesday

Tennis: Rafael Nadal leads Spain to 6th Davis Cup title

Associated Press Sunday, 24 November 2019, 21:34 Last update: about 10 months ago

Rafael Nadal beat Denis Shapovalov 6-3, 7-6 (7) to give Spain its sixth Davis Cup title with a win over first-time finalist Canada on Sunday.

Roberto Bautista Agut, playing three days after the death of his father, had given Spain a 1-0 lead by beating Félix Auger-Aliassime 7-6 (3), 6-3 in the first singles match.

The Spanish crowd that packed the Caja Mágica center court erupted when Nadal converted his third match point to clinch the title for Spain at the inaugural Davis Cup Finals with an insurmountable 2-0 lead.

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The top-ranked Nadal won all of his eight matches at the revamped competition that debuted a World Cup-style format.

Tournament organizer and Barcelona soccer star Gerard Piqué, his wife Shakira — who performed in the closing ceremony — and Spanish King Felipe VI were among those celebrating Spain’s first Davis Cup title since 2011.

The celebration was especially emotional for Bautista Agut, who sent Spain on its way to victory after returning to the team following the death of his father on Thursday. He pointed his finger to the sky after winning the final point. His father’s health deteriorated after an illness that stemmed from a 2016 accident.

Spain’s Marcel Granollers and Feliciano López were scheduled to face Shapovalov and Vasek Pospisil in the doubles if needed, although Nadal was likely to play if the title had been at stake. Nadal played in the decisive doubles on Friday and Saturday.

Nadal sealed Spain’s win, however, with a straight-sets win over the 20-year-old Shapovalov, who is ranked 15th.

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