Cordoba, Spain – Former world No. 1 Rafael Nadal and fellow five star David Ferrer were a pair of easy winners on Friday, as host 0 lead over 2010 runner-up France in their of-five Davis Cup semifinal.
Nadal didn't appear to be bothered by a short turnaround following his loss to Novak Djokovic in Monday's U.S. Open final, as the 10-time Grand Slam champion gave Spain the first point with a straight-set rout of Richard Gasquet in Cordoba.
The French Open champion Nadal, back on his beloved red clay, needed a little over two hours to claim a 6-3, 6-0, 6-1 victory in the opening singles rubber. He improved to 10-0 lifetime against Gasquet, who did not manage a single break point against the super Spaniard and had his own serve broken seven times.
Gasquet failed to win a single point against Nadal's serve in the dominant second set. Nadal had 33 total winners, while Gasquet mustered only 19.
The fifth-ranked Ferrer put the hosts in the driver's seat with a comprehensive 6-1, 6-4, 6-1 victory over world No. 11 Gilles Simon. The mismatch was over in 2 hours, 8 minutes, as the Spaniard piled up eight breaks, compared to only two for the disappointing Frenchman.
Ferrer is now 3-1 lifetime against Simon.
Spain can advance to the final in December with a doubles victory on Saturday. That match is slated to feature a Spanish tandem of Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco, while France is expected to counter with Michael Llodra and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Sunday's reverse singles currently call for Nadal to meet Simon and Ferrer to lock horns with Gasquet.
The powerful Spaniards, captained by former French Open champ Albert Costa, have won four of the last 11 Davis Cup titles, while the nine-time champion French, piloted by long-time captain Guy Forget, are seeking their first championship since 2001.
This is the eighth all-time Davis Cup meeting between these two proud tennis nations, with Spain holding a 5-2 advantage in a series that dates back to 1923.
The winner here will meet the Argentina-Serbia victor in the 2011 Davis Cup final.