Although many anticipated a competitive opening day of action at the Palexpo Stadium in Geneva, the home team, led by 17-time Grand Slam champion stormed to a 2-0 lead and put themselves one win away from their first final in 22 years.
Federer opened up the proceedings with a 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-4 victory over Simone Bolelli. While the Italian held his own and made it a surprisingly competitive battle, Federer remained solid on serve and took command of the contest until the he sealed the final point.
“I just stayed with him really,” said Federer, reflecting on the first set. “I served well myself. It ended up going to the tie-break, which I thought was the right thing. In the tie-break, I really think I served well throughout. The margins were small in the first set.
“In the second set I was finally able to get the break; that broke the deadlock for me a little bit. I was able to play with the lead, which is always easier. I’m just happy overall how it went. It’s important to get that first point and that was the most important part.”
Federer has now won 36 Davis Cup matches and has not lost since his 2012 defeat to John Isner. He is one point away from leading the Swiss team to the final and even closer to his first ever Davis Cup title – a significant addition to his career accomplishments.
The Swiss No. 1 will take to court on Saturday with partner Stan Wawrinka, who defeated Fabio Fognini in straight sets, in the doubles rubber.