Cameron Norrie beat Rafael Nadal 3-6 6-3 6-4 in the opening match of Great Britain's United Cup tie against Spain in Sydney. Katie Swan will bid to put GB 2-0 against Nuria Parrizas Diaz.
Saturday 31 December 2022 11:37, UK
Cameron Norrie secured the biggest win of his career to date after beating former world number one Rafael Nadal at the United Cup for Great Britain in Sydney.
The British number one beat Nadal 3-6 6-3 6-4 at a sold-out Ken Rosewell Arena to give Great Britain a 1-0 lead against Spain in the first mixed international team competition.
Norrie had previously lost all four meetings against Nadal, but produced a stunning comeback from a set down.
Norrie has been in fine form at the start of the tennis season, beating Alex de Minaur in his opening match as Britain beat Australia 3-2 in the opening tie.
Nadal was playing his first match since the ATP finals in November and the Spaniard showed great agility to cover the court in the first set, firing an array of stunning passing shots to move ahead.
The 36-year-old struggled to maintain his level as the match went on, as Norrie upped his intensity to outlast the Spaniard in brutal exchanges.
Norrie broke Nadal in the sixth game of the second set and went on to dominate the decider, saving two break points while leading 3-2 before holding his nerve to clinch a statement win.
After the match, he said: "It was pretty crazy. I was thinking I'd never won a set before (against Nadal) and I came out firstly wanting to do that.
"I had to stay super-patient. It was a super-physical match and I enjoyed it. It was huge to get through that one and finally beat him.
"He beat me easily the last few times, so it's a great way to end the year for me. It was a crazy atmosphere, thank you guys. It was a crazy match."
Britain took a 2-0 lead into Sunday's matches after Katie Swan beat Nuria Parrizas Diaz 3-6 6-1 6-2.
The 23-year-old rallied from a set down to beat the world number 70 to secure her first win in the United Cup.
The Spaniard came out firing in the first set and hit 10 forehand winners to go a set up, but Swan turned the match around in the second, hitting only four unforced errors.
She continued her form in the third set as Parrizas Diaz struggled to put pressure on the young Brit.
The task now falls on Paula Badosa and Pablo Carreno Busta to level the tie on Sunday.
Playing in the number one position for Spain, Badosa will face Harriet Dart, looking to avenge her loss to the Brit at the Billie Jean King Cup. Carreno Busta will face Dan Evans.
If the tie is level at 2-2 after singles, mixed doubles will determine the winner.
Elsewhere, top-ranked Iga Swiatek beat Yulia Putintseva 6-1 6-3 in Brisbane to put Poland 2-1 up going into the final round of matches on Sunday.
In Perth, Belgium and Bulgaria are level after Grigor Dimitrov beat David Goffin 6-4, 7-5. Alison Van Uytvanck had a 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 win over Isabella Shinikova to give Belgium the early lead.
Jiri Lehecka beat world number 12 Alexander Zverev 6-4 6-2 to give the Czech Republic a 2-0 lead over Germany, and Petra Kvitova can clinch the tie on Sunday when she plays Laura Siegemund.
World 15th-ranked Beatriz Haddad Maia improved her tournament record to 2-0 after beating Malene Helgo of Norway 6-4, 6-2.
Felipe Meligeni Alves gave Brazil their second win of the day when he beat Viktor Durasovic 6-3, 6-3.
The inaugural United Cup has teams from 18 countries competing in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney through to January 4. The three city champions and the next-best performing country from the group stage will meet at Ken Rosewall Arena between January 6 and January 8 to determine the overall winner.
Britain will qualify if they can build on their lead on Sunday, while France, Italy, the United States, Greece and Switzerland are all leading their groups as it stands.