Nikolay Davydenko gave Russia the first point of the Davis Cup final tie against Argentina in Moscow on Friday, beating Juan Ignacio Chela by 6-1, 6-2, 5-7, 6-4.
Davydenko, the world number three, won in 3hr 05min to record his first ever victory over the 27-year-old Argentinian, who had won all five of their previous meetings.
"I played very good in the two opening sets," said Davydenko.
"But in the third set I felt myself slightly tired and lost concentration allowing him to come back.
"In the fourth I played well again and was not worried even when Chela broke back. I'm happy to win today and hope I will not have to play on Sunday."
Davydenko started confidently, breaking his rival's serve early to clinch a comfortable 3-0 lead before Chela chalked up his first point in the match.
The 25-year-old Russian increased his advantage with another break in the sixth game to lift himself one set up in 37 minutes.