One-time US Open champion Marin Cilic has given Croatia a 1-0 lead over Belgium in their first round Davis Cup tie with a 7-5 6-3 7-5 win over Kimmer Coppejans on Friday.
The 122th-ranked Coppejans offered a strong resistance in the first set but could not hold onto a 5-2 lead.
He served for the set at 5-4 in the opener, and led 4-2 in the third set but Cilic, who hit 16 aces, used his greater experience to prevail on the red clay of the Country Hall.
David Goffin takes on Borna Coric in the second singles.
Belgium reached its first final in 111 years last year, and ended as runner-up to Britain.
Croatia and Belgium have met once before, with the Croatians winning back in 2004.