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Nadal back for season-defining Davis Cup duty

Ferrer beat Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-6 (7-1) 3-6 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 7-5 in the deciding rubber in Valencia.

"It's a great feeling to be back, coming back from injuries is always hard, but it's great to be in front of my crowd on a very memorable day".

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.

Rafael Nadal described his return to action as "a day to remember" after the 16-time grand slam victor pulled Spain level in their Davis Cup quarter-final against Germany.

"No, probably will be better to come back in the best of three sets, not best of five sets", Nadal was quoted as saying by the Express.

Elsewhere, defending champion France booked a home semifinal against Spain as Lucas Pouille claimed a hard-fought win over Fabio Fognini in Genoa to give the visitors a 3-1 victory in the tie.

"I have been practising in Acapulco and then I get injured just a day before the competition starts so I had to restart all the process, stop for 25 days and then start slow again", Nadal said, as quoted by the Express.

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"I don't know if there will be one more year, I feel well, I am going week-by-week".

Chardy, a surprise selection ahead of Adrian Mannarino, the world 25, suffered his first Davis Cup defeat in six matches.

Nadal's appearance for Spain in the Davis Cup will be followed by his return to the ATP Tour at the Monte Carlo Masters, which signals the beginning of the clay court swing of the season.

The hosts are in control after the opening day, with John Isner having put them into the lead with a 6-3, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4 win over Joris De Loore. Nadal is back with five-time champion Spain after a gap of two long years; the last time he played Davis Cup was in September 2016.

Croatia also made it in to the previous four since Australian Open runner-up Marin Cilic defeated Kazakhstan's Mikhail Kukushkin 61 6-1 61 to seal their own tie 3 1.

In Nashville, John Isner and Sam Querrey lifted the Americans a 2-0 lead over last year's runners-up Belgium as the USA tries to reach the semis for the first time in six years.

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