ATP CUP PERTH DAY 2
He left it to his friend to deliver the bagels, but world No.1 Rafael Nadal was able to produce goods of his own in Spain's ATP Cup whitewash of Georgia.
Nadal recovered from an early break and a late wobble to beat world No.26 Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-3 7-5 in front of 8032 fans in Perth on Saturday night.
His victory gave Spain an unassailable 2-0 lead in the tie after world No.9 Roberto Bautista Agut thrashed world No.679 Aleksandre Metreveli 6-0 6-0, posting what is known as a double bagel.
Spain also won the doubles to make it a 3-0 result.
Basilashvili and Nadal traded early blows in their singles battle before the 19-time grand slam winner won three games on the trot to take the first set in 41 minutes.
Nadal looked on track for an easy win after racing to a 5-2 lead in the second set.
But Basilashvili broke back twice to level it at 5-5, before Nadal regained his composure to close out the contest.
"It was a positive victory for me and my team," Nadal said.
"A 3-0 result is a good way to start the competition, and for me personally I had the match under control 6-3 5-2 against a good player.
"I did things well, there are things I can improve. But in general terms, I have to be satisfied.
"To win a match against a good player like him helps with the confidence and helps with the rhythm."
Nadal was a key part of Spain's recent Davis Cup triumph, and he said he enjoys the team aspect of events like the ATP Cup.
"We had a great experience playing together on the team representing our country," Nadal said.
"It's always a motivation to play for your friends and your country. We are going to try our best here."
Nadal has the chance to equal Roger Federer's record of 20 grand slam singles titles when he competes at the Australian Open later this month.
But the 33-year-old insists the ATP Cup is his priority for now, saying the $22 million event isn't merely a warm-up for the first major of the year.
Spain will be back in action on Monday night when they take on minnows Uruguay.