Spain showed it can win without Rafael Nadal, with the defending Davis Cup champions taking a 2-0 lead over Kazakhstan on Friday behind victories by Juan Carlos Ferrero and Nicolas Almagro.
Ferrero rallied in the fifth set to beat Mikhail Kukushkin 6-1, 4-6, 7-6 (2), 4-6, 6-4 to open the World Group first-round series on indoor clay. Almagro downed Andrey Golubev 6-3, 4-6, 6-1, 6-1.
Nadal and David Ferrer have helped Spain win three of the past four titles. Both are absent, forcing new captain Alex Corretja to overhaul the squad.
Ferrero, a former No. 1, and his 11th-ranked teammate put Spain on course for a 22nd straight victory at home. On Saturday in the best-of-five series, Spaniards Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez play Evgeny Korolev and Yuriy Schukin in doubles.