LOGRONO: Spain's bid for a third straight Davis Cup title got off to a poor start on Friday when Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka beat Nicolas Almagro in their World Group first round clash.
The Swiss World No. 19, who has not competed since the Australian Open following the birth of his daughter, beat the 40th-ranked Spaniard 3-6, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 in the opening rubber of a tie missing superstars Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Almagro began to show signs of fatigue by the fifth set, in which he made 15 unforced errors to Wawrinka's five as well as three double faults.
The 24-year-old Spaniard, making his first Davis Cup appearance in two years, admitted it was a “tough match”.
Spain won its fourth Davis Cup title last December while Switzerland is still searching for its first World Group victory since 2004.
The tie is notable for the absence of Spain's top three players —— Nadal, Fernando Verdasco and Juan Carlos Ferrero.
The results: At Toulon (France): France 1, Germany 0 (Gaels Monfils bt Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-1, 6-4, 7-6(5).
At Bree (Belgium): Belgium 0, Czech Republic 1 (Olivier Rochus lost to Tomas Berdych 6-3, 6-0, 6-4.
At Varazdin (Croatia): Croatia 1, Ecuador 0 (Ivo Karlovic bt Nicolas Lapentti 6-2, 5-7, 6-7(2), 6-3, 6-4.
At Logrono (Spain): Spain 0, Switzerland 1 (Nicolas Almagro lost to Stanislas Wawrinka 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, 5-7, 3-6 .