New-look Davis Cup lifts off in Madrid

The Davis Cup finals got under way in Madrid with three ties decided on day one

The revamped Davis Cup began with a few hiccups but no disasters in Madrid on Monday.

After all the talk about the new week-long finals format and the influence of Barcelona star Gerard Pique's investment firm Kosmos, which persuaded the International Tennis Federation to partner with them on the World Cup-style event, the first three ties were played at the Caja Magica.

Most of the scepticism has been about whether fans would travel to watch their countries at a neutral venue and whether the atmosphere could come anywhere close to matching the traditional home-and-away format.

The initial results were largely positive.

The clash between Russia and Croatia on the largest court, which seats more than 12,000 spectators, felt a little flat but the stands were around half full and the Croatia fans, in particular, were noisy.

The tie on the second court, pitting Canada against Italy, was lively throughout, as was Belgium's clash with Colombia.

On court, Belgium accounted for Colombia 2-1 in the three-team group that contains Australia.

David Goffin and Steve Darcis took the singles for Belgium before Colombia won the doubles.

The South Americans' next Group D assignment is against Australia on Tuesday.

Darcis beat Santiago Giraldo 6-3 6-2 before Goffin came back from a set down to beat Daniel Elahi Galan 3-6 6-3 6-3.

"I'm happy with the way I fought. I did not give up which is the important thing when playing for your country," world No.11 Goffin said.

The world's top doubles pairing of Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah won the final rubber for Colombia with a hard-fought 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 7-6 (7-3) defeat of Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen.

Defending champions Croatia were severely weakened by the withdrawal of Marin Cilic through injury and were beaten 3-0 by Russia - who were missing No.5 Daniil Medvedev.

Andrey Rublev beat Borna Gojo 6-3 6-3 and Karen Khachanov fought back from a set down to overcome Borna Coric 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 6-4.

The Russian duo then teamed up to defeat Ivan Dodig and Nikola Mektic 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 in the doubles.

Canada claimed top honours on the day with an impressive 2-1 victory over Italy to sit top of Group F.

Vasek Pospisil, ranked 150th in the world beat world No.12 Fabio Fognini 7-6 (7-5) 7-5 before Denis Shapovalov edged world No.8 Matteo Berrettini 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (3-7) 7-6 (7-5).

"It's great to represent my country and I'm really happy to get the win against a player like Matteo who has had a very good season," Shapovalov said.

Berrettini and Fognini gained some revenge in the doubles when they defeated Shapovalov and Pospisil 6-2 3-6 6-3.