Photo: Martin SidorjakPetra Kvitova (CZE)
The opening day of the 2013 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group and World Group II first round ties were a close affair but one team in particular strode out to a 2-0 lead and looked like the champion side of the past two years.
Czech Republic, with the reliable duo of Petra Kvitova and Lucie Safarova, stormed into a 2-0 lead against Australia after Kvitova defeated Jarmila Gajdosova 76(2) 63 and Safarova battled past Sam Stosur 76(6) 76(4).
All three of the other World Group ties are 1-1 after the first day. Russia's Maria Kirilenko was made to work hard for her victory over 42-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm and Ayumi Morita drew the visitors level in Moscow with a solid display against Ekaterina Makarova.
In Rimini, the Italians took the early spoils courtesy of Sara Errani over Jamie Hampton, but it was Fed Cup debutante Varvara Lepchenko who pulled the visitors level with a gutsy performance against Roberta Vinci.
In the most bizarre of all the ties this weekend, Serbia are level with Slovak Republic after being gifted a point by Dominika Cibulkova. The Slovak No. 1 was forced to retire with severe cramp when needing just one game to clinch victory against Vesna Dolonc.
Earlier in the day Daniela Hantuchova had put the Slovaks in the lead with a comfortable victory over Bojana Jovanovski.
In World Group II, Argentina pulled off the biggest upset by taking both singles rubbers against Sweden and there were also perfect starts for Spain and Germany. Belgium and Switzerland go into the final day all sqaure in Bern.
For full match reports, pictures, audio interviews and much, much more click on the links below:
Czech Republic 2-0 Australia
Italy 1-1 USA
Russia 1-1 Japan
Serbia 1-1 Slovak Republic
World Group II
Argentina 2-0 Sweden
France 0-2 Germany
Belgium 1-1 Switzerland
Spain 2-0 Ukraine