Davis Cup: Kukushkin gives Kazakhstan 1-0 lead over Italy
ASTANA, Kazakhstan (AP) Italy leveled the Davis Cup first-round tie with Kazakhstan at 1-1 after Andreas Seppi defeated Andrei Golubev in the second of Friday's singles.
Seppi dominated from the start, and could have closed out the match in straight sets if not for a determined tiebreak performance by the Russian-born Golubev, who forced a fourth set, where Seppi prevailed 6-3, 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-2.
Earlier, Mikhail Kukushkin defeated Simone Bolelli 7-6 (6), 6-1, 6-2 at the National Tennis Center to begin the teams' first meeting.
After winning a first-set tiebreak, Kukushkin's momentum was too strong for Bolelli, who was a surprise nomination for the singles after the higher-ranked and more successful Fabio Fognini was entered only for the doubles. Bolelli committed 55 unforced errors and took only one of his 10 break-point chances.
In the second singles, Golubev was the more erratic. He broke Seppi only once, in the third set, while losing his own serve six times.
Saturday's doubles pits Fognini and Paolo Lorenzi against Golubev and Alexander Nedovesov.
Italy and Kazakhstan lost to eventual champion Switzerland last year, with the Kazakhs beaten in the quarterfinals, and Italy in the semifinals.