Genoa, Italy:Stanislas Wawrinka beat Andreas Seppi 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 on Friday to give Switzerland a 1-0 lead over Italy in the Davis Cup playoffs.
Top-ranked Roger Federer was up next for Switzerland against Simone Bolelli on the red clay courts at the Valletta Cambiaso club.
The winner of the best-of-five series will return to the World Group next year.
Seppi took a medical break between the second and third sets, and afterward he cited a lack of energy.
"The same thing has happened to me a few times now," said Seppi, the highest-ranked Italian at No. 59. "When I play these early matches I don't get to have a full meal and I don't have enough energy."
The match started at noon local time, and the 22nd-ranked Wawrinka was able to pick on Seppi's weak second serve from the start.
Seppi won only 37 percent of the points with his second serve, to Wawrinka's 53 percent.
Seppi's troubles were apparent early, when he double faulted to open his first service game, leading to a break.
A large contingent of red-clad Swiss fans cheered in unison between every point, while the Italian supporters were mostly silent.
Seppi wore a black armband to mourn six Italian soldiers killed in a bomb blast in Afghanistan on Thursday.
Federer's match was his first since his five-set loss to Juan Martin del Potro in the U.S. Open final on Monday.
Federer and Wawrinka, the Olympic champions, will team together against Fabio Fognini and Potito Starace in Saturday's doubles, with reverse singles scheduled for Sunday.