• Reuters

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Spain’s Rafael Nadal returned to action with a 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 Davis Cup win over Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber on Friday to set a record for the longest winning streak in the competition’s history.

World No. 1 Nadal had not played since he retired from his Australian Open quarterfinal against Marin Cilic in January with a leg injury, but made light work of Kohlschreiber to draw five-time winner Spain level at 1-1 in the tie.

Victory meant Nadal set the record for the longest Davis Cup winning streak in combined singles and doubles rubbers with 23 matches in a row.

Defending champion France was tied 1-1 with Italy in Genoa, while 2005 winner Croatia was also deadlocked against visitor Kazakhstan in Varazdin.

Nadal was swiftly back in the swing of things in Valencia, dismantling Kohlschreiber after Alexander Zverev blew away David Ferrer 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 to put Germany in front.

The 31-year-old Nadal hardly put a foot wrong on his return, having produced 14 of his 30 winners in the opening set of a lopsided contest.

Kohlschreiber also went down tamely in the second before putting up more of a fight at the start of the third, but 16-time Grand Slam winner Nadal was relentless and wrapped up the match.

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