Hosts Spain made smooth progress into the last eight of the Davis Cup Finals but elsewhere in La Caja Magica on Wednesday it proved a more arduous day for players, organizers and fans.
World number one Rafael Nadal sealed top spot in Group B for Spain as he crushed Croatia’s Borna Gojo 6-4 6-3 to give his side an unassailable 2-0 lead after Roberto Bautista Agut had beaten Nikola Mektic 6-1 6-3.
Defeat ended a miserable few days for reigning champions Croatia who without talisman Marin Cilic depart with two losses.
Novak Djokovic, who Nadal piped to the year-end top ranking, helped get Serbia up and running with an easy win over Yoshihito Nishioka as they beat Japan 3-0 in Group A.
Britain endured a torrid opening day of their campaign though, as they scraped past the Netherlands 2-1 in a Group E tie that spanned nearly nine hours on Court 3.
Three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray returned to Davis Cup action for the first time since 2016 but almost came unstuck against 179th-ranked Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor, clawing back a 1-4 deficit in the deciding set to win 6-7(7) 6-4 7-6(5).