World No.8 Dominic Thiem has got Austria off to a flying start with an 6-1 6-3 6-0 win over Australia's Jordan Thompson in the opening singles rubber of the Davis Cup tie in Graz.
Thiem, who reached the final of this year's French Open, was simply too strong for an out of form Thompson, who was preferred to US Open quarter-finalist John Millman by captain Lleyton Hewitt.
Thompson, who has failed to get past the opening round of all four grand slams this year, has fallen from a career-high ranking of 63 in 2017 to 111 but was selected due his strong previous Davis Cup form.
Despite being 3-1 in singles rubbers, the 24-year-old from Sydney was always up against it facing Thiem, who produced a masterclass in clay court tennis to seal the win in just 95 minutes.
Rising star Alex de Minaur will take on world No.133 Dennis Novak in the second match at the outdoor Messe Congres complex later on Friday.
Hewitt has also nominated Thompson to partner John Peers for Saturday's doubles rubber against Oliver Marach and Jurgen Melzer, ahead of Sunday's reverse singles.
Millman is the highest ranked player in the Australian team at 37 following Nick Kyrgios' withdrawal for the tie, which is no longer a World Group play-off, with teams instead playing for seeding in a new-look Davis Cup format.
The eight winners from this weekend's ties will be seeded for the qualifying round in February, in which 24 teams will take part in home and away matches.
The 12 victors will then secure a direct place in the finals in November 2019.