Nadal blitzes Tsonga to put Spain in final

Updated: 2011-09-19 10:45


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Nadal blitzes Tsonga to put Spain in final

Rafael Nadal of Spain serves to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France during their Davis Cup World Group semi-final match at the Cordoba bullring Sept 18, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]

* World number two in dominant form on clay

CORDOBA, Spain - Spanish clay master Rafa Nadal put his exertions at the US Open firmly behind him when he thrashed France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-0 6-2 6-4 on Sunday to set up a Davis Cup final at home to Argentina.

The burly Tsonga had helped France to victory in Saturday's doubles to keep the best of five tie alive but was powerless against Nadal's relentless claycourt game as the world number two claimed his 17th win in 18 Davis Cup singles matches.

The victory gave Spain, who are bidding for a third title in four years, an unassailable 3-1 lead in the world group semi-final in Cordoba before Fernando Verdasco beat Richard Gasquet 6-2 6-1 in a shortened final singles rubber.

After losing both singles in Belgrade on Friday, Serbia took Saturday's doubles to maintain their hopes of defending the title they won last year with a 3-2 victory over the French.

However, world number one Novak Djokovic, who beat Nadal in a gruelling US Open final on Monday, retired from his match on Sunday against Juan Martin Del Potro with a rib and lower back injury to hand Argentina the tie.

Nadal said after his win over Tsonga he prefered to play Argentina in the Dec 2-4 final as that would mean Spain would be at home and able to choose the venue and surface.

He also reiterated his criticism of the Davis Cup format, which he argues puts too much strain on players already committed to a packed ATP Tour calendar.

"It's always nicer to play at home and the court factor is very important," he said in an interview with Spanish TV.

"Another reason is that I have more friends in Argentina than in Serbia," the Mallorca native added.

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