Federer puts Swiss ahead
Paris - Roger Federer got Switzerland off the mark in their Davis Cup World Group opener against Serbia 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, bouyed with two Grand Slam winners in their ranks, 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.
Gasquet held off the 18-year-old Kyrgios in straight sets in just over two hours.
"I knew that the first set was really important. I had to win it," said Gasquet.
"Once I did I gained in confidence. If he (Kyrgios) had won the first set it would have been a different match. "He's (Kyrgios) a player with a big serve who already has a lot of talent. I was favourite today but he's still young I think he has a huge future."
Kyrgios began to show signs of fatigue in the first set tie-break with the loss of six consecutive points despite leading 3-1. Gasquet's confidence grew thereafter and he rolled off six consecutive games at love on serve.
The final set was a copy of the second with a double break in favour of France and a string of unforced errors off the Kyrgios racquet.
"I played very good tennis in the first set and tried to put Richard under pressure," said Kyrgios.
"But he played incredibly well. I had my chance by leading 3-1 in the tie-break but he managed to win the first set. After that he grew in confidence and played better and better. I couldn't have done more against him in the other two sets. He was just better than me today."
Veteran Lleyton Hewitt will bid to draw Australia level when he takes on Jo-Wilfried Tsonga later in western France,
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.
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.
Japan and Canada are 1-1 following the opening day of play in Tokyo.
Japanese number one Kei Nishikori beat Canada's Peter Polansky 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 before Frank Dancevic levelled 6-4, 7-6(7/2), 6-1 win over Go Soeda.