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Nadal celebrates his victory over Borna Gojo.
Nadal victory secures top spot for Spain and safe passage to the Davis Cup quarter-finals

Nadal victory secures top spot for Spain and safe passage to the Davis Cup quarter-finals

Despite an impressive performance from the Croat Borna Gojo, it was ultimately Nadal who came out on top (4-6, 3-6) on Wednesday

JOSÉ MANUEL ANDRÉS

Friday, 22 November 2019, 18:09

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Rafael Nadal beat Borna Gojo in two sets on Wednesday to secure Spain top spot in their Davis Cup group and a place in the tournament's quarter finals.

After Roberto Bautista had beaten the Croat Nikola Mekti, Spain needed another victory to secure top spot. Nevertheless, it would be a stretch to say that the pressure was on Nadal in Madrid; many saw his match as a foregone conclusion, given the world number one's opponent currently occupies the 280th spot in the ATP rankings.

Ultimately, there were no shocks, although Gojo certainly performed impressively, playing aggressive tennis and showing no signs of being intimidated by the stature of the player on the other side of the net.

At times in the first set, a shout of "vamos" accompanied each point that Nadal won, demonstrating that the encounter was not as easy for the Mallorcan as many had foreseen. Ultimately, though, a break allowed Nadal to reach a 5-4 advantage, and he put the set to bed with a resounding service game.

Nadal got off to the best possible start in the second set, breaking his opponent in the first game. The 21-year-old Gojo, making his Davis Cup debut, did not crumble in the same way that Mekti had against Bautista, fighting hard but ultimately losing the second set 6-3.

In the end, Nadal's very best tennis was not required to guarantee Spain top spot in Group B. It could have been a different story had Croatia's team not been marked by several key absences, notably Marin ili and Borna ori.

In what was by this point a dead rubber, Nadal then played alongside Marcel Granollers in a doubles match against Croatia's Ivan Dodig and Mate Pavi. It was a match that the Spanish duo would end up winning by the same margin that Nadal had won his earlier match (3-6, 4-6).

The pair went on to win the first set comfortably after breaking their Croatian opponents in the fifth game, and came out on top as well in what was a slightly nervier second set.

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