TURIN, Italy (AP) — Andreas Seppi drew Italy level 1-1 with Croatia by beating Ivan Dodig 6-2, 6-7 (2), 6-4, 6-4 in the first round of the Davis Cup on Friday.
Seppi is up to a career-high ranking of No. 18 after reaching the fourth round of the Australian Open, and he relied on his solid form to overcome the persistent Dodig, who is ranked 59th. In the opening singles match on the red clay court inside the Palavela, Marin Cilic fought back to beat Paolo Lorenzi 6-1, 6-7 (6), 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in 3 hours, 43 minutes
Lorenzi was a late replacement for Fabio Fognini, who sat out with the flu. Saturday's doubles pits Simone Bolelli and Lorenzi against Mate Pavic and Nikola Mektic. The reverse singles on Sunday sees Seppi face 14th-ranked Cilic in a rematch of their five-set Australian Open third-round match which was won by the Italian.
Italy is looking to win its first World Group tie since 1998, when it finished runner-up. Croatia won the Davis Cup in 2005. The winner faces either Spain or Canada in the quarterfinals.