Germany is just a win away from upsetting Spain for a place in the Davis Cup semifinals after Tim Puetz and Jan Lennard-Struff staved off Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez 6-3 6-4 3-6 6-7(4) 7-5 in a four-hour 40-minute doubles epic.
It continued a perfect five-set record for the German duo, who also upset Matt Ebden and John Peers in the nation’s first-round tie against Australia.
It sets a tantalising fourth rubber between Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev at the Plza de Toros de Valencia in Spain.
We're going to a 5th set! @RafaelNadal approves!
— Davis Cup (@DavisCup) April 7, 2018
Following the critical fourth rubber win he achieved over Nick Kyrgios in the first round, Zverev now has a chance to repeat the feat against the Nadal to send Germany into the Davis Cup semifinal for the first time since 2007.
But it will take a monumental effort from the 20-year-old German. Nadal not only holds a 23-match win streak in Davis Cup but also holds a 3-0 record in head-to-head meetings against Zverev.
Adding to the challenge, Spain has won 26 straight ties on home soil.
On Friday, Zverev opened with a win for Germany in the first singles rubber, overcoming Davis Ferrer in straight sets.
Contesting his first match since retiring in the Australian Open quarterfinals with a leg injury, Nadal defeated Philipp Kohlschreibber 6-2 6-2 6-3.
The winner between Spain and Germany could face France, with the defending Davis Cup champions holding a 2-1 lead over Italy after Pierre Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut defeated Simone Bolleli and Fabio Fognini in the 6-4 6-3 6-1 in the doubles.
American duo Ryan Harrison and Jack Sock have combined superbly to defeat Gille Sander and Joran Vliegen 5-7 7-6(1) 7-6(3) 6-4 to secure a 3-0 win over Belgium and progress to the semifinals for the first time since 2012.
— Davis Cup (@DavisCup) April 8, 2018
John Isner and Sam Querrey also claimed victories for the host nation in Nashville, USA, with singles wins over Joris De Loore and Ruben Bemelmans respectively.
Runner-up in Davis Cup in 2015 and 2017, Belgium was competing without top-10 stalwart David Goffin, who has contested just one match since suffering a serious eye injury in Rotterdam.
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