Spain's Rafael Nadal reacts during his match against Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber during a World Group Quarter final Davis Cup tennis match between Spain and Germany at the bullring today in Valencia, Spain.
Rafael Nadal's return to action went smoothly as he cruised to a 6-2 6-2 6-3 victory against Philipp Kohlschreiber to level up Spain's Davis Cup tie with Germany.
In front of a partisan crowd which needed little excuse to get excited, Nadal regularly produced his trademark fist pump en route to a Davis Cup-record 23rd straight win in singles and doubles, a run that stretches back to 2005.
It was an impressive response after Alexander Zverev had blown away David Ferrer 6-4 6-2 6-2 to put Germany in front.
"It's positive of course, winning in straight sets, it was a solid match".
"To play at home at a bullring stadium, it's very unique". I feel comfortable back on the clay.
"It's a memorable day, in front of my own crowd".
Nadal, in his first Davis Cup tie since 2016, had 30 winners against only eight by Kohlschreiber, but the Spaniard finished with eight double faults.
Despite his lengthy absence Nadal was much the quicker out the blocks as he took a 2-0 lead in the opener courtesy of a break to love.
Kohlschreiber also went down tamely in the second before putting up more of a fight at the start of the third, but 16-times grand slam victor Nadal kept his foot on the gas and wrapped up the match in two hours and 33 minutes. "It is my first clay-court match in a very long time so it was great to find my rhythm so quickly".
"'It was an important match for us", Nadal said afterwards. Spain has won the Davis Cup four times with Nadal, in 2004, 2008, 2009 and 2011.
But he made light work of Kohlschreiber on Friday to draw five-times winners Spain level at 1-1 in the tie.