CORDOBA, Spain (Reuters) - Spanish world number two Rafa Nadal showed little sign of post-U.S. Open fatigue when he thrashed France's Richard Gasquet 6-3 6-0 6-1 in the opening singles rubber of their Davis Cup semi-final on Friday.
Nadal's participation in the match on clay in the sweltering Andalusian city of Cordoba had been in doubt after he lost a gruelling U.S. Open final to Novak Djokovic on Monday.
However, after flying straight back to join team mates Ferrer, Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez and with little time to adjust from hard court to the red dust, he dispatched 15th-ranked Gasquet in a little over two hours.
World number five Ferrer needed only slightly longer to see off Simon, the number 11, to the delight of the typically boisterous red and yellow-clad home supporters baking inside the city's converted bullring.
"I was serving well, especially in the opening two sets, and that gave me a lot of composure," Nadal, dripping with sweat, said in an interview with Spanish television.
"The effort was positive as if the game had dragged on it could have been tough for me," the 25-year-old added after completing his 10th win in 10 matches over Gasquet.
Spain can clinch a place in December's final against champions Serbia or Argentina when Lopez and Verdasco meet Michael Llodra and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Saturday's doubles, with the two reverse singles to follow on Sunday.
Gasquet told a news conference the defeat to Nadal had been "unpleasant" rather than "terrible."
"I am not going to commit suicide because of a defeat to Nadal but it has an unpleasant taste," he told a news conference. "This was tough."
(Writing by Iain Rogers in Madrid, editing by Justin Palmer)