MAR DEL PLATA, Argentina, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- Italian Fabio Fognini is to meet Argentina's Carlos Berlocq in the first match of what is expected to be a tightly contested first-round Davis Cup series.
Even the doubles nominees -- Simone Bolelli and Filippo Volandri for Italy and Eduardo Schwank and Horacio Zeballos for Argentina -- have comparable rankings.
The winner of the Italy-Argentina series advances to the Davis Cup quarterfinals April 4-6 against the winner of a first-round series between Great Britain and the United States.
Seppi is 15-14 in Davis Cup play, going 2-2 last year. Berlocq is 3-4 (0-2 in doubles). Seppi won the only time he and Berlocq played.
Monaco won all three of his previous matches versus Fognini and is 11-11 in Davis Cup play. Fognini's Davis Cup record is a healthy 12-4 (10-3 singles) with two loses in last year's quarterfinals against Canada.
Berlocq and Seppi begin the best-of-five series with Fognini and Monaco also playing Friday. Saturday's schedule calls for the Bolelli-Volandri versus Schwank-Zeballos doubles match with the series ending Sunday with Fognini meeting Berlocq and Seppi going against Monaco in the series finale.
Argentina is a four-time Davis Cup runner-up, most recently losing 3-1 in the finals to Spain in 2011. Italy won the 1976 Davis Cup title and is a six-time second-place finisher, although the Italians haven't played for the title since 1998.