Switzerland loses as Federer sits

GENOA, Italy -- With Roger Federer sitting out, Switzerland lost a doubles match to Italy in a Davis Cup playoff but still leads the series 2-1.

Simone Bolelli and Potito Starace defeated Marco Chiudinelli and Stanislas Wawrinka 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (3) on Saturday.

In Thursday's draw, Federer was selected to team with Wawrinka, reviving the team that won the Olympic doubles title last year. But Switzerland captain Severin Luthi decided to rest Federer in favor of the 117th-ranked Chiudinelli.

The move avoided three straight days of Davis Cup play for Federer, who recently arrived in Italy after losing in five sets to Juan Martin del Potro in the U.S. Open final on Monday.

"We all know he's had a very heavy schedule over the last days and weeks, so we preferred that he rest today and be ready for tomorrow," Luthi said.

Federer can seal the team victory with a win over Seppi in the first of Sunday's reverse singles matches.

"The Italians just played better today," Luthi said. "[Federer] has no problem. You can expect him to play for sure tomorrow."

In Friday's opening singles, Federer defeated Bolelli 6-3, 6-4, 6-1 and Wawrinka beat Andreas Seppi 6-4, 6-1, 6-2.

The winner of the best-of-five series will return to the World Group next year.