Sydney - Roger Federer recovered from a sluggish start to beat Lleyton Hewitt 5-7, 7-6 (5), 6-2, 6-3 on Friday, moving Switzerland level with Australia at 1-1 after the opening day of their Davis Cup World Group playoff.
Federer, who only arrived in Australia on Wednesday after a grueling US Open semi-final loss, began slowly on the grass court at Royal Sydney Golf Club and was at risk of a two-set deficit, before taking the tiebreak then breaking Hewitt in the first game of the third set.
The 16-time Grand Slam winner now holds an 18-8 record over former No 1 Hewitt, who had won their previous match in the final at Halle, Germany last year.
Bernard Tomic earlier beat Stanislas Wawrinka 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 to give Australia a 1-0 lead.
Hewitt claimed the opening set against Federer with two blistering cross court forehands and looked on track for a second-straight win over the world No. 3 when he went up a break in the second set, before Federer found form.
The Australian had his share of break point opportunities in the fourth set, but Federer was able to convert his in the fifth game, and went on to take the match in 2 hours, 50 minutes.
No 59-ranked Tomic started slowly and appeared to experience difficulty coming to grips with the uneven bounce of the grass court before beating Wawrinka.
Tomic converted 81 percent of his first serves and won all of his second-serve points, while No 28-ranked Wawrinka, who is recovering from a foot injury sustained at the US Open, made 14 unforced errors.
After serving his way out of trouble to move to 5-4 in the second set, Tomic broke serve to level the match at a set apiece.
The seesawing third set featured three breaks of serve before Tomic held firm to take a set advantage. He held off a break point in the fourth game of the fourth set before breaking Wawrinka in the fifth and ninth games, then finished the match with a backhand down the line.
In Saturday's doubles, Hewitt and big-serving Chris Guccione will play Federer and Wawrinka, who won gold together in the doubles at the 2008 Olympics.
The winner of the playoff takes a place in the Davis Cup World Group for next year, while the loser returns to play zonal qualifiers.