Rafael Nadal got Spain off to the best possible start in the Davis Cup final, crushing Juan Monaco in straight sets.
Nadal smashed any doubts about his form with a brutally efficient 6-1, 6-1, 6-2 win over Monaco, setting the tone for the rest of the weekend. The world number two broke serve seven times and didn't even face a single break point.
Monaco often found himself on the back foot in the rallies as Nadal unleashed an impressive selection of winners, 26 in all. And even on the rare occasions when Monaco found himself dictating play, he could not find a way past Nadal's incredible defensive skills. This was exemplified by a remarkable point in the fourth game of the second set with Nadal repeatedly sprinting across the court to keep the ball in play before curling a backhand down the line.
"I was a little nervous at the start but after I broke him, I started playing well," Nadal said afterwards. "It was a very solid match for myself. I think for the first two sets I played without mistakes, aggressive too. I am sorry for Juan, he is one of my best friends so has been hard to have a confrontation like this. For me it is a big victory and very happy to have earned the first point for our country."
"There were some very long points, very difficult points to win. He is a fantastic clay player and is always a pleasure to play against him. We always have fantastic rallies and to play against him you know you have to play a very long match always. It's fantastic, the atmosphere is unbelievable, a lot of Argentinians supporting and the Spanish crowd are always fantastic supporting us."