Rafael Nadal instigated a Spanish comeback against Russia in the Davis Cup on Tuesday by capitalising on a raucous home crowd to beat Karen Khachanov in straight sets.
Nadal, who will finish the year as world number one, came through a second-set tie-break to defeat Khachanov 6-3, 7-6 (9/7) and level the Group B match in Madrid.
Marcel Granollers and Feliciano Lopez then won the deciding doubles rubber 6-4, 7-6 (7/5) against Khachanov and Andrey Rublev, who had earlier given Russia the lead with a 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/0) win over Roberto Bautista Agut.
A new format this year means the Davis Cup takes place in one venue, across a single week, with organisers — among them Barcelona footballer Gerard Pique — hoping a tighter schedule will revitalise the prestigious trophy.
The three stadiums at the Caja Magica were all far from full for Tuesday’s early matches but Nadal enjoyed a bumper crowd of local fans for his hard-fought contest in the evening.
“The atmosphere was amazing,” said Nadal.
Asked about the success of the competition so far, he added: “It is difficult to answer today. Let me wait until the tournament is over to have a clear and better opinion.”