Davis Cup: Kazakhstan leads Argentina 1-0 in playoff

ASTANA, Kazakhstan (AP) Kazakhstan leads Argentina 1-0 in their Davis Cup World Group playoff.

Kazakh veteran leader Mikhail Kukushkin lost the first set against Guido Pella but responded strongly to win the opening singles 6-7 (5), 7-6 (5), 6-2, 6-4 in nearly four hours on Friday.

Pella was consistently strong in the first two sets before mistakes crept into his game, the Argentine posting 23 unforced errors in the fourth against 14 for Kukushkin.

Diego Schwartzman faces home player Dmitry Popko in the second rubber.

Argentina won last year’s title, but dropped into the playoffs this year after losing to Italy in the first round.

Kazakhstan, which dropped out of the World Group last year, reached the playoffs by defeating China.