US Open champion Rafael Nadal teamed up with Marc Lopez to give Spain an unassailable 3-0 lead over Ukraine in their Davis Cup World Group play-off on Saturday.
The Spanish pair beat Denys Molchanov and Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-2, 6-7 (6/8), 6-3, 6-4 in just over three hours to ensure the five-time champions will remain amongst the world`s top 16 nations next year.
It was Nadal`s third best-of-five set match in just six days as after sealing his 13th Grand Slam title in New York on Monday, he cruised to a 6-0, 6-0, 6-4 win over Stakhovsky on Friday.
The 27-year-old hadn`t been expected to play in the doubles having not done so in the Davis Cup since pairing up with Fernando Verdasco to beat the Italian pair of Daniele Bracciali and Giorgio Galimberti back in 2005.
However, Nadal admitted on Friday that having made the effort to come straight from six weeks on the American hard courts back onto the clay of the Spanish capital, it was only a small extra demand to play in the doubles.
And with the job now done for Alex Corretja`s men, the world number two is expected to get a well-earned break for the dead rubbers on Sunday.