MADRID, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- Rafael Nadal showed once again that tiredness and jetlag don't appear to exist for him as he helped to give Spain a 2-0 lead in their Davis Cup tie against the Ukraine on Friday in the Caja Magica in Madrid.
In the run up to the match that Spain need to win to remain in the World Group, Nadal had spoken of his tiredness after winning the last three competitions he had played in, with the last being Monday's triumph in the US Open.
He had not returned to Spain until Wednesday and had admitted a certain tiredness, while also saying he was willing to play singles if captain, Alex Corretja asked him to.
Unwilling to leave his top player on the sidelines, that is exactly what Corretja did indeed do and he was rewarded by a thundering display from Nadal, who looked to be very much a man in a hurry as he won the first two sets of his rubber against Sergiy Stakhovski 6-0, 6-0 in just 56 minutes.
It was not until the first game of the first set that Stakhovski won a game and the Ukrainian showed his sense of humor by celebrating as if he had won the match. That saw a slight recovery from Stakhovski and it was not until the ninth game that Nadal was able to get the decisive service break to move 5-4 ahead and then serve out to claim the rubber 6-0, 6-0, 6-4.
Nadal has now won his last 21 singles matches.
The day had threatened to get off to a bad start for Spain as local boy, Fernando Verdasco lost the opening set of the first rubber of the day in which he faced Aleksandr Dolgopolov.
Dolgopolov won the opening set 3-6 before Verdasco fought back to a 4-set victory 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 in a match which won't be remembered for the brilliant play of either of the players, who committed a total of 103 unforced errors between them.
Verdasco had been a surprise choice to play in singles ahead of Tommy Robredo, who has been in good form of late, but he was able to show personality and the virtue of committing just 38 unforced errors to his rival's 65 and that was enough to put Spain ahead.
Saturday sees the doubles and should the pair of Robredo and Marc Lopez win, then Spain will have assured their Davis Cup place for next year.