Buenos Aires: Marin Cilic gave Croatia a winning start to their Davis Cup quarterfinal against Argentina Friday when he beat David Nalbandian 5-7, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-3 in a five hour epic featuring 241 unforced errors.

Croatia, the 2005 champions, will get the opportunity to go 2-0 later Friday when Ivo Karlovic takes on Juan Martin del Potro, the world number 10, who was reported to have been vomiting all morning and was a doubt to start the second rubber.

Cilic, the world number 23, took the opener on his second match point to silence the crowd at the Parque Roca claycourt venue after five hours and nine minutes and celebrate his first win over Nalbandian in five meetings.

Argentina, last year's runners-up to Spain, hold the unwanted record for reaching the most Davis Cup finals without winning the title, having now fallen in four finals.

The last time Argentina lost a home tie on clay was against the Slovak Republic in 1998.

The winners of this tie will face either the Czech Republic or Serbia in the semifinals.