Rafael Nadal had been out since retiring with a hip problem in January’s Australian Open

World number one Rafael Nadal beat Philipp Kohlschreiber to level Spain’s Davis Cup quarter-final against Germany in his first match since January.

Nadal won 6-2 6-2 6-3 to set a new Davis Cup record for combined singles and doubles victories with 23 in a row.

The 16-time Grand Slam winner, 31, had been out since retiring with a hip problem against Marin Cilic in the last eight of the Australian Open.

Alexander Zverev beat David Ferrer 6-4 6-2 6-2 in the opening tie in Valencia.

“It’s positive of course, winning in straight sets,” said Nadal. “It was a solid match and I feel comfortable back on the clay.

“It’s a great feeling to be back. Coming back from injuries is always difficult, but it’s great to be in front of my crowd on a very memorable day.”

Nadal is set to face world number four Zverev in the first match of the reverse singles on Sunday, before Ferrer plays Kohlschreiber, ranked a place below him in 34th.

Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez Tarres take on Tim Puetz and Jan-Lennard Struff in Saturday’s doubles.

Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis holds the longest singles winning streak at 36 matches but lost doubles ties during that run.

Nadal has not lost a Davis Cup rubber since a doubles defeat by Italy in 2005, and has won 23 consecutive singles matches since.


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