Feliciano Lopez: It's one of toughest losses I've had in Davis Cup

Nadal's 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 win in Valencia draws the tie level at 2-2, with Spanish world number 33 David Ferrer up against Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber in the fifth and decisive match.

Nadal did look vulnerable on serve at times during the match, but one sensed he always had enough in his return game to keep the pressure on Kohlschreiber, who had earlier seen compatriot Alexander Zverev defeat David Ferrer in three sets.

Italy's Fabio Fognini leveled the tie for the hosts after a dramatic four set win over France's Jeremy Chardy.

"The first set was fantastic", Nadal said.

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Hours earlier, China made a move that had all the makings of an all-out commerce dispute with the U.S. "Our action is restrained". Beijing has been adamant that it did not want a trade war, but that it would not not back down under United States pressure.

Rafael Nadal won his first singles match on his return to Davis Cup action with Spain on Friday. Italy holds the Davis Cup record with a 29-tie unbeaten run at home from 1949-64. "I'm very happy with the match".

Nadal, building up to an assault on what he hopes will be an 11th French Open title in May and June, said it had been a special day playing on home ground again.

Ivan Dodig and Nikola Mektic overcame Kazakhstan's Timur Khabibulin and Aleksandr Nedovyesov 6-7 (2) 6-4 6-4 6-2 to hand Croatia a 2-1 lead.

"It's positive, winning in straight sets. We ended up winning a pretty comfortable breaker and from that I felt like we were pretty much on top and we just had to finish it off".

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

In Nashville, Ryan Harrison and Jack Sock can take an unassailable 3-0 lead for the United States and become the first team to seal their place in the semi-finals later on when they face Belgium's Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen in their doubles rubber.

Fourth seeds Croatia wrapped up a 3-1 win over Kazakhstan on Sunday as world number three Marin Cilic thrashed Mikhail Kukushkin 6-1 6-1 6-1 in Varazdin.

The top-ranked Nadal hadn't played since the Australian Open quarterfinals because of a right hip injury, and was never challenged by the 34th-ranked Kohlschreiber at the bullring staging the clay-court tie in Valencia.

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After laying on the court for several minutes and then sitting up, Embiid was eventually taken back to the locker room with help. Joel Embiid has been plagued by injuries throughout his career. "I'm anxious about him, but I believe he's OK".

  • Kelly Blake