Paris – Roger Federer got Switzerland off the mark in their Davis Cup World Group opener on Friday as France, Germany and Kazakhstan also took early leads.
Federer, a last-minute addition to the Swiss team, won through 6-4, 7-5, 6-2 against 268th-ranked Ilija Bozoljac on the hard court surface in Novi Sad.
The Swiss are favourites with Serbia weakened by the absence of their top players Novak Djokovic and Janko Tipsarevic.
Switzerland's newly-crowned Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka is due to take on Dusan Lajovic later on Friday.
In Astana, Mikhail Kukushkin and Andrei Golubev gave hosts Kazakhstan a 2-0 advantage against Belgium.
Kukushkin beat Ruben Bemelmans 6-4, 6-7 (3/7), 6-2, 6-3 in just over three hours and was followed by Golubev who overcame David Goffin 7-6 (11/9), 3-6, 4-6, 6-2, 12-10 in a four hour 38-minute thriller.
“I'm really pleased to win the first point for my team,” Kukushkin said. “The match was much tougher than one can imagine looking at the scoreline.”
Hosts France went 1-0 up on clay in Mouilleron-le-Captif with Richard Gasquet seeing off Australian teenager Nick Kyrgios 7-6
(7/3), 6-2, 6-2.
In Frankfurt, Philipp Kohlschreiber gave Germany a winning start over five-time winners Spain with a 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 victory in less than two hours against Roberto Bautista Agut.
Veteran Lleyton Hewitt will bid to draw Australia level when he takes on Jo-Wilfried Tsonga later in western France, as Spain's 26th-ranked Feliciano Lopez plays Florian Mayer, ranked 29, in their second rubber.
The Spanish are playing without their stars - world number one Rafael Nadal and fifth-ranked David Ferrer. – Sapa-AFP