David Nalbandian rallies in Davis Cup

David Nalbandian rallied to beat Florian Mayer 2-6, 6-0, 6-1, 7-6 (5) and give Argentina a 2-0 lead over Germany on Friday in the first round of the Davis Cup in Bamberg, Germany.

Earlier, Juan Monaco defeated Philipp Petzschner 6-3, 6-3, 6-3.

Nalbandian fell behind 4-0 and failed to mount much of a challenge in the first set. But the 30-year-old Argentine veteran dominated the next two sets. He fired an ace to serve out the third set before Mayer began playing well again.

The German broke for 2-0, saved three break points to lead 3-0 and held serve for 4-1. But Nalbandian finally broke back in the seventh game.

A net-cord helped Mayer take a 6-5 lead, but Nalbandian held to reach a tiebreaker. He had five match points when leading 6-1 but allowed Mayer to pull back to 6-5 before converting his fifth.

Canada 1, France 1

Milos Raonic beat Julien Benneteau 6-2, 6-4, 7-5 on Friday night to give Canada a 1-1 tie with France after the opening singles in the Davis Cup match, Canada's first at the World Group level in eight years.

In the opening match, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga topped Vasek Pospisil 6-1, 6-3, 6-3 in front of the flag-waving crowd at Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre.

The winner of the best-of-five match will play the U.S.-Switzerland winner in the quarterfinals. The visiting United States leads that match 2-0.

In doubles Saturday, Pospisil and Daniel Nestor will face Benneteau and Michael Llodra.

Spain 2, Kazakhstan 0

Spain showed it can win without Rafael Nadal, with the defending Davis Cup champions taking a 2-0 lead over Kazakhstan on Friday behind victories by Juan Carlos Ferrero and Nicolas Almagro.

Ferrero rallied in the fifth set to beat Mikhail Kukushkin 6-1, 4-6, 7-6 (2), 4-6, 6-4 to open the World Group first-round series on indoor clay. Almagro downed Andrey Golubev 6-3, 4-6, 6-1, 6-1.

Nadal and David Ferrer have helped Spain win three of the past four titles. Both are absent, forcing new captain Alex Corretja to overhaul the squad.

Ferrero, a former No. 1, and his 11th-ranked teammate put Spain on course for a 22nd straight victory at home. On Saturday in the best-of-five series, Spaniards Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez play Evgeny Korolev and Yuriy Schukin in doubles.

Czech Republic 2, Italy 0

Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek won the opening singles matches Friday, sending the Czech Republic to a 2-0 lead over Italy in the first round of the Davis Cup.

Stepanek had to dig deep to overcome Andreas Seppi 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. Then, No. 7 Berdych fought harder than expected to defeat the 135th-ranked Simone Bolelli 6-3, 4-6, 7-5, 6-2.

The Czechs need one more victory to win the best-of-five series in the World Group. They are expected to use Berdych and Stepanek in Saturday's doubles against Daniele Braccialli and Potito Starace. Reverse singles are Sunday.

The winner will face Serbia or Sweden in the quarterfinals in April.

Janko Tipsarevic defeated Filip Prpic and Viktor Troicki beat Michael Ryderstedt to pace the host Serbs.

The ninth-ranked Tipsarevic had 11 aces and converted four of five break points to beat Prpic 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 in the best-of-five World Group series.

Prpic failed to take any of his five break chances. Prpic is ranked No. 1,426, but Tipsarevic says "the rankings don't do him justice."

Troicki downed Ryderstedt 6-4, 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 after missing his chance to finish the match in the third set, when he broke serve for a 4-2 lead.

Serbia, which beat Sweden 4-1 last season, is playing without top-ranked Novak Djokovic, who is resting after winning the Australian Open.

Austria 2, Russia 0

Andreas Haider-Maurer defeated No. 1 Russian player Alex Bogomolov Jr. 6-1, 6-4, 6-7 (1), 6-2 on Friday to extend Austria's first-round lead.

Austria needs one more win in the best-of-five series to enter the quarterfinals of the World Group for the first time since 1995.

Russia has managed to win from 0-2 only once, against Germany in 1995.

Austria's leading player, Jurgen Melzer, beat Igor Kunitsyn 6-2, 6-7 (3), 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 in the early match.

The 34th-ranked Bogomolov, who has been living in the United States since 1992 but opted to play for his country of birth, looked nervous on his Davis Cup debut. Bogomolov dropped serve three times in the fourth set and lost the match on his third double fault.

Croatia 1, Japan 1

Ivo Karlovic beat Kei Nishikori 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 Friday to give Croatia a split against Japan in Hyogo, Japan.

Karlovic overpowered Nishikori with 18 aces in the day's second singles in World Group play. In the first match, Japan's Go Soeda rallied past Ivan Dodig 6-7 (3), 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-5.

Nishikori became the first Japanese man to reach the quarterfinals of the Australian Open since the Open era began in 1968, but struggled against the big-serving Croatian.

Japan is in the World Group for the first time in 26 years.

In Saturday's doubles of the best-of-five series, Karlovic and Lovro Zovko play Tatsuma Ito and Yuichi Sugita. In Sunday's reverse singles, it's Nishikori vs. Dodig and Soeda vs. Karlovic.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.