MADRID — U.S. Open champion Rafael Nadal helped Spain win its doubles match Saturday and capture its Davis Cup World Group playoff against Ukraine.
The world's No. 2 player teamed with Marc Lopez to beat Sergiy Stakhovsky and Denys Molchanov 6-2, 6 (6)-7, 6-3, 6-4, giving Spain a 3-0 lead in the best-of-five series.
Nadal and Fernando Verdasco won singles matches Friday. Captain Alex Corretja paired Nadal with Lopez, intent on preventing the series from going to reverse singles Sunday.
Nadal won his 13th Grand Slam at the U.S. Open on Monday and still looked fresh despite the travel and playing two straight days. This is Nadal's first Davis Cup since 2011, and Corretja called Nadal's commitment to the team critical.
Spain, a five-time champion, extended its unbeaten run on clay to 27 consecutive series.