Goffin downs Nadal but Spain into Cup semi

Glenn Cullen
David Goffin enjoyed a shock win over Rafael Nadal but Spain edged Belgium 2-1 at the ATP Cup

David Goffin has achieved what only one other tennis player has managed in the past six months - a victory over Rafael Nadal.

The fleet-footed Goffin scored the biggest upset of the ATP Cup with his 6-4 7-6 (7-3) win over the world No.1 but it wasn't quite enough to prevent Spain moving through to a semi-final against Australia on Saturday night.

With Roberto Bautista Agut getting Spain on the board with a 6-1 6-4 opening singles win over Kimmer Coppejans, it then came down to the doubles.

In another gilt-edged rubber, Nadal got back in the winner's circle, combining with Pablo Carreno Busta for a thrilling 6-7 (9-7) 7-5 10-7 win over plucky pair Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen.

Nadal had enjoyed an incredible run after Wimbledon last year, going 26-1 in singles matches with one walkover through injury.

That golden period included a US Open win, Davis Cup title and Masters Series Trophy in Montreal.

But the form book went out the arena in Sydney as the world No.11 dragged his team back into the contest with the win.

The pair traded breaks in the first set before Goffin stole the advantage in the ninth game, ripping a backhand winner down the line and forcing Nadal into an error off his forehand for a 5-4 lead.

He then served out the set, the first Nadal had given away during the tournament.

Goffin broke in the opening game of the second and despite handing it back late in the set clinched the match with a nerveless tiebreak.

The world No.11 said he had to up his aggression to give himself a chance.

"Rafa had to take the ball a little bit early and had to take some more risks," he said.

"On the court I tried to dictate all the time and he had to try and find a solution because he finds a solution most of the time and so I had to stick to my line and continue to move forward and that's what I did."

Familiarity with the Ken Rosewall Arena and its newly minted roof might have been a factor for Goffin, who played in Sydney all week while Nadal was based in Perth.

Several players including Russia's Daniil Medvedev have mentioned how differently the arena has played compared to Perth, while Australian Alex de Minaur, who'd been in Brisbane, clean missed a regulation smash during his singles quarter-final.

The Belgians earlier sprung a surprise by pitching the No.158 Coppejans into the match against No.10 Bautista Agut, opting to rest Steve Darcis who'd won two of his three singles matches in the round-robin phase.