Photo: Paul ZimmerNicolas Almagro (ESP)
Spain need just one more point to reach the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Final for the second successive year after a scintillating opening day's play in Gijon.
David Ferrer got the defending champions off to the perfect start with a 46 62 62 64 victory over Sam Querrey in the opening rubber before Nicolas Almagro held his nerve in a thrilling encounter against John Isner.
The big-serving American saved three match points but finally succumbed to Almagro 64 46 64 36 75 in four hours 16 minutes.
In the other World Group semifinal between Argentina and the Czech Republic it was the hosts who drew first blood thanks to a gutsy performance by Juan Martin del Potro to defy his wrist injury and defeat Radek Stepanek 64 64 62.
But Tomas Berdych fought back from two-sets-to-one and 4-1 down to come back and win a fantastic match 61 46 16 64 64.
Elsewhere, Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka handed Switzerland the perfect start to their World Group play-off against the Netherlands in Amsterdam in rainy conditions.
The tie between Italy and Chile still stands at 1-0 after the first day's play after some early wet weather and then bad light combined to stop play in Naples with Fabio Fognini and Paul Capdeville locked at 1-1 in the fifth set.
Belgium looked in good form against Sweden and take a 2-0 lead into the second day in Brussels.
There was nothing to separate Australia and Germany in Hamburg after Bernard Tomic and Florian Mayer won their opening singles rubbers and the same was true in both Astana and Tokyo.
Click the links below to follow the action from each World Group semifinal and play-off tie.
World Group semifinals
- Spain 2-0 USA
- Argentina 1-1 Czech Republic
World Group play-offs
- Kazakhstan 1-1 Uzbekistan
- Germany 1-1 Australia
- Japan 1-1 Israel
- Belgium 2-0 Sweden
- Canada 2-0 South Africa
- Brazil 2-0 Russia
- Italy 1-0 Chile
- Netherlands 0-2 Switzerland