Kvitova puts Czechs in control
Defending champions Czech Republic lead Germany 2-0 after the opening day of their first round Fed Cup World Group tie.
Last Updated: 04/02/12 7:11pm
Petra Kvitova dug deep to get the Czech Republic's Fed Cup defence off to a strong start on Saturday.
The Czechs faced a tricky first-round trip to Germany, but they came through the first day well, establishing a 2-0 lead with two hard-fought victories.
Wimbledon champion Kvitova came from a set down to claim a 3-6 6-3 10-8 victory over Julia Goerges after two hours and 21 minutes on court in Stuttgart.
Iveta Benesova had earlier put her side in front by also fighting back to beat Sabine Lisicki, a player ranked 35 places above her, 2-6 6-4 6-2.
Elsewhere, Maria Sharapova and Svetlana Kuznetsova got Russia, beaten by the Czechs in last year's final, off to a flier against Spain in Moscow.
Australian Open runner-up Sharapova thrashed debutante Silvia Soler-Espinosa 6-2 6-1 in the opening rubber before Kuznetsova demolished Carla Suarez Navarro 6-3 6-1 to leave the Russians within touching distance of a place in April's semi-finals.
However, Kuznetsova insisted they were not yet home and dry.
She said: "Yes, we are 2-0 up, but we can't relax at the moment. We have to make sure that we stay focused and get the all-important third victory tomorrow.''
Level in Biella and Charleroi
In Biella, the 2009 and 2010 champions Italy ended day one level at 1-1 with Ukraine.
Sara Errani, something of a surprise pick for the hosts, won the opening rubber with an impressive 6-2 6-3 victory over Kateryna Bondarenko.
But the visitors hit back when world number 121 Lesia Tsurenko claimed a stunning 6-1 6-2 triumph over former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone, a player ranked 110 places higher.
The other first-round tie is also all square after the first day's play.
Serbia took an expcted 1-0 lead when Jelena Jankovic defeated Kirsten Flipkens 7-5 7-5, but Belgium responded with Yanina Wickmayer beating Bojana Jovanovski 6-4 6-4 in Charleroi.