Colin Fleming dedicated the doubles victory that kept Great Britain's hopes of beating Russia alive to absent team-mate Ross Hutchins.
The pair had won the doubles rubber in Britain's previous three Davis Cup ties but Hutchins has been forced to take a break from tennis while he receives treatment for Hodgkin's Lymphoma, a form of cancer.
The 28-year-old spent the early part of the week with the team at Coventry's Ricoh Arena and was given a role analysing the Russians by captain Leon Smith ahead of the tie, but headed back to London on Thursday for his seventh round of chemotherapy.
Wimbledon champion Jonny Marray took Hutchins' place for this tie and he and Fleming swept aside Russia's Igor Kunitsyn and Victor Baluda 6-1 6-4 6-2 in an hour and 29 minutes to reduce Britain's deficit to 2-1 heading into Sunday's reverse singles.
Fleming said: "Ross is a good friend of all of ours in the team. I speak to him every day.
"When I'm out there playing I'm very focused on what's happening but at the end it just seemed right. It was nice to send a little message to him because I knew he'd be watching at home.
"He's doing well. Obviously he's going through a tough time in his life but I think it's going as well as he really could have hoped.
"He's had seven of his chemo treatments now so he's more than halfway in. He's had the initial results that showed the treatment's doing the job so he's very positive.
"He's the most positive guy I've ever met. It's unbelievable. He's not complained once since he's had this news so it's inspirational.
"It's great he's still involved in the team. I know Ross has got big plans to play again and I'm sure he'll be keen to be part of the team in the future."
For Marray, it was a chance to make his debut in the competition, at the age of 32 and nine years after he was first named in a British team.
He said: "It was great fun. It's something I've always wanted to be a part of. To get the opportunity to represent your country is fantastic, especially at such a late stage in my career.
"I had a good year last year but obviously Colin and Ross have been in the Davis Cup team for a few years now and their performances have been fantastic so I always knew it would be difficult to force my way into the team.
"But obviously, with Ross' situation, I've had the opportunity and I really enjoyed it."