MORIOKA: Yuichi Sugita evened the score for Japan to 1-1 by beating Andreas Seppi of Italy 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (1) Friday in the first round of the Davis Cup.
Fabio Fognini beat Taro Daniel 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the first match.
In Saturday's doubles, Japan will send Yasutaka Uchiyama and Ben McLachlan to face Simone Bolelli and Paolo Lorenzi. Last week, McLachlan reached the men's doubles semifinals at the Australian Open.
The winning country advances to the quarterfinals.
Italy is bidding to reach the quarterfinals for the fifth time in six years while Japan is looking to end a three-year drought that includes losses to Canada, Britain and France.