Murray and Nishikori win in deadlock, Switzerland rue Federer and Wawrinka absence
Defending champions Great Britain ended day one of their Davis Cup first-round clash with Japan tied at 1-1 after wins for Andy Murray and Kei Nishikori.
World number two Murray comfortably beat Taro Daniel, dropping just five games in a straight-sets victory in Birmingham.
The Briton raced into a 4-0 lead in the opening set and, despite displaying a lack of sharpness at points on his return to action following the birth of his daughter, he never looked back as he went on to claim a 6-1 6-3 6-1 triumph.
However, Nishikori ensured the tie was deadlocked at the end of the day, although he encountered difficulties in overcoming Dan Evans.
The Japanese secured a 7-3 win in a third-set tie-break to complete a 6-3 7-5 7-6 win over his opponent, ranked 149 places below him.
Switzerland were without star duo Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka for their tie with Italy, and it proved costly as they fell two matches behind in Pesaro.
Number 146 ranked Marco Chiudinelli was unable to make the most of three match points after fighting back from two sets down against the hosts' Paolo Lorenzi, who eventually won 7-6 (16-14) 6-3 4-6 5-7 7-5.
Andreas Seppi then put Italy on the brink of victory, overcoming world number 174 Henri Laaksonen in the second match of the day.
Seppi took the opening two sets but was pegged back by Laaksonen in the third, but the unruffled Italian saw out the match 7-5 7-6 (7-4) 3-6 6-3.
Novak Djokovic beat Aleksandr Nedovyesov - ranked 199 places below him - in straight sets but Serbia ended the day in Belgrade 1-1 with Kazakhstan.
David Goffin ensured Belgium stayed level with Croatia after Marin Cilic beat Kimmer Coppejans, but he required five sets to overcome Borna Coric.
Wins for Guido Pella and Leonardo Mayer put Argentina into a comfortable 2-0 lead over Poland, while France duo Gael Monfils and Gilles Simon made light work of Canada's Frank Dancevic and Vasek Pospisil respectively.
Tomas Berdych came from two sets to one down to beat Alexander Zverev and bring Czech Republic on par with Germany at one match apiece.
John Isner put the United States 1-0 up against Australia with a straight-sets win over Samuel Groth, but Bernard Tomic pulled a match back in Melbourne to keep it all square.