MADRID (AP) Fernando Verdasco beat Alexandr Dolgopolov 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 Friday to give Spain a 1-0 lead over Ukraine in their Davis Cup World Group playoff.
Rafael Nadal will have a chance to double Spain's lead when he plays Sergiy Stakhovsky later in the second singles match.
Verdasco shook off a poor start and overcame a 3-0 deficit in the third set to grab the first point on the Caja Magica's outdoor red clay court.
Nadal last played for Spain in December 2011, when he won the decisive point of the final against Argentina to earn Spain its fifth title.
Nadal's absence has been due in part to a knee injury that sidelined him for seven months last season.
The doubles match is on Saturday with reverse singles on Sunday.
This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings