Nadal beats Zverev, Spain reach semis
The world number one’s 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 win in Valencia drew the tie level at 2-2, before veteran David Ferrer battled to a marathon 7-6 (7/1), 3-6, 7-6 (7/4), 4-6, 7-5 victory over Philipp Kohlschreiber to finish the job.
Two breaks in each set were enough for Nadal to seal an impressively comfortable victory over world number four Zverev in what was only the 31-year-old’s second outing since returning from a hip injury.
Nadal said after the match he is still regaining sharpness.
“The first set was fantastic,” Nadal said. “There were times when I lost a bit of control because the match was tough, I had not competed for a long time and to maintain the level of the first set was complicated for me.
“But in general it was a very important match and I am very happy.”
Nadal was forced to retire from his Australian Open quarter-final against Marin Cilic in January but, back on his favored clay, the 16-time Grand Slam champion showed little sign of rust against Zverev, whom he has now beaten four times out of four.