Perth: World No. 1 Rafael Nadal on Wednesday secured Spain's spot in the quarter-finals as Group B winners at the ongoing ATP Cup, but he was made to work extremely hard for the tie victory against Team Japan.
Nadal had to twice recover a break deficit in the first set, before overcoming Yoshihito Nishioka 7-6 (4), 6-4 in a tremendous battle which lasted for two hours and eight minutes.
Earlier in the day, World No. 9 Roberto Bautista Agut also extended his winning start to the 2020 ATP Tour season with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Go Soeda in the first singles rubber.
Nadal, Bautista Agut, Pablo Carreno Busta, Albert Ramos-Vinolas, Feliciano Lopez and captain Francisco Roig will now travel to Sydney, where Spain will prepare to play a tie during Friday's night session.
Japan, with a 2-1 ties record in Group B, must now win the doubles match in order to remain in contention for the final eight as one of the best second-placed teams.
Japan had beaten Georgia and Uruguay in its two previous Group B ties.