Nadal lifts Spain to fifth Davis Cup title

Spain's Rafael Nadal returns the ball to Argentina's Juan Martin Del Potro during their Davis Cup...

Spain's Rafael Nadal returns the ball to Argentina's Juan Martin Del Potro during their Davis Cup final reverse singles rubber at the Olympic Stadium in Seville December 4, 2011. REUTERS/Marcelo Del Pozo

Sports Network

, Last Updated: 12:01 PM ET

Seville, Spain - The great Rafael Nadal came from behind on Sunday in order to beat Juan Martin del Potro and lift mighty Spain to its third Davis Cup title in four years, as the host Spaniards defeated Argentina 3-1 in the best-of-five final in Seville. A scheduled fifth rubber was abandoned on Day 3.

This also marks Spain's fifth championship in the last 12 years.

The formerly top-ranked and current world No. 2 Nadal dropped the first set in the first reverse singles rubber on Day 3 before righting the ship against his fellow former U.S. Open champion del Potro for a 1-6, 6-4, 6-1, 7-6 (7-0) victory on the red clay at Olympic Stadium.

Del Potro stunned a sluggish Nadal, and the Spanish faithful, by handling the six-time French Open champ in a mere seven games, which included three breaks of serve, in the opening set. But Nadal got back on track by winning the second set, which he did by breaking the 6-foot-6 Argentine in the 10th game of the stanza.

The third set would mark a complete reversal from the opening frame, as Nadal drilled del Potro in seven games. The Spaniard broke his Argentine counterpart for a 2-0 lead in the third, and Nadal also broke del Potro to open the fourth set.

Del Potro, however, would more than challenge Nadal in the fourth.

Nadal broke del Potro for a 3-2 lead in the fourth, but the Argentine wouldn't go away, as he charged back with a pair of breaks en route to a stunning 5-3 advantage.

Del Potro served for the fourth set, but Nadal broke the towering Argentine by capping off a tremendous rally with a forehand winner.

Nadal consolidated the break with a hold to level the set at 5-all, and then broke del Potro in the next game for a 6-5 edge when the Argentine netted a tired forehand.

Del Potro, however, got the break right back with a crushing forehand winner to force a tiebreak.

Unfortunately for del Potro and Argentina, Nadal bageled "Delpo" in the extra session and closed out the match on his first match point with a winning forehand, which whipped the home crowd into a championship frenzy.

Nadal has now won his last 20 Davis Cup singles matches, improving to 20-1 lifetime, including an unbeatable 16-0 mark on clay, in this prestigious international sporting event.

Team Argentina stayed alive, at 1-2 down, here on Saturday when a quality tandem of David Nalbandian and Eduardo Schwank whipped an all-left-handed Spanish duo of Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2, 6-3.

In Friday's opening singles, Nadal and world No. 5 David Ferrer gave the Spaniards a 2-0 advantage, as Nadal dismantled world No. 26 Juan Monaco 6-1, 6-1, 6-2 and Ferrer outlasted the 23-year-old world No. 11 del Potro 6-2, 6-7 (2-7), 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 in an almost five-hour affair.

The dynamic duo of the 25-year-old Nadal and 29-year-old Ferrer are a combined 28-0 all-time on clay for Spain in Davis Cup play.

The 10-time Grand Slam champion Nadal was this year's French Open winner and Wimbledon and U.S. Open runner-up.

A team hasn't overcome a 2-0 deficit in the Davis Cup final since Australia stunned a Bobby Riggs-led United States squad in suburban Philadelphia way back in 1939.

Spain is now 4-0 all-time versus Argentina, including a road victory in the 2008 Davis Cup finale in Mar del Plata.

Hard-luck Argentina is still seeking that elusive first-ever championship, having now gone winless in four finals (1981, 2006, 2008, 2011).

Spain has captured 21 straight home ties, with its last home loss coming against Brazil 12 years ago.

Team Spain is captained by former French Open champion Albert Costa, while Tito Vazquez guided the Argentine contingent. Costa was also the captain when the Spaniards titled in 2009.


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