David Ferrer recovered from a first-set wobble to secure the opening point for holders Spain in their Davis Cup semi-final at home to the United States with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 victory against Sam Querrey on Friday.
World number five Ferrer only had a few days to prepare for the best-of-five tie on clay in Gijon following his run to the semi-finals of the US Open but he ultimately proved too strong on his favoured surface against the 26th-ranked American.
Ferrer is leading the Spanish bid for a place in November's final in the absence of the injured Rafa Nadal and his win against Querrey was his 15th in 15 Davis Cup singles rubbers on clay and his 20th in 24 matches overall.
"It was a very tough match throughout, he didn't make it easy for me," Ferrer told Spanish television.
"I managed to stay focused mentally and the important thing is the victory," added the Spaniard.
Spanish number two Nicolas Almagro takes on US number one John Isner in Friday's second singles, with the doubles rubber to come on Saturday and the two reverse singles on Sunday.
Favourites Spain are bidding for a fourth Davis Cup crown in five years, while the U.S., without the services of the recently retired Andy Roddick, have not won the competition since 2007.
Tomic tonic for Oz
Hamburg: Teenager Bernard Tomic admitted he was relieved to have given Australia a 1-0 lead in the opening rubber of the Davis Cup World Group play-off match against Germany on Friday.
In a marathon opener which lasted three hours and 17 minutes, Tomic came from behind to seal a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) win over Germany's Cedrik-Marcel Stebe as Australia bid to return to the World Group for the first time since 2007.
"I am really happy, it wasn't a good feeling being down after the first set," admitted the 19-year-old Tomic with former world number one Lleyton Hewitt now facing top German Florian Mayer in Friday's other singles match.