All square after day one in Prague

The first day of the Fed Cup final saw defending champions Czech Republic and challengers Russia play to a 1-1 draw.

Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova led the Czech charge in the first match of the day, taking on Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Kvitova was the firm favourite heading into the contest, but Pavlyuchenkova looked ready to spring a surprise when she captured the first set.

The 24-year-old broke twice – in the third game and the fifth – before fending off two break points against her to go one set up.

Kvitova did not lie down in the second set, however, applying heaps of pressure during a marathon second game. After six spurned break points, she finally succeeded on her seventh to go 2-0 up.

That game effectively appeared to end Pavlyuchenkova's resolve. She would win only two of the remaining 12 games in the match as Kvitova completed a 2-6 6-1 6-1 victory to put her country in the lead.
 
"It was nerves," Kvitova said when asked about her slow start. "When I stepped on the court I was really nervous, and I was so tight – my legs felt really heavy and I couldn't move well! That was the key, probably.

"It was very difficult to turn it around but in the beginning of the second set I held my serve and then was able to break her, and I think that game was really key to the second set and the match.

"Anastasia played really well today. I'm happy I could keep improving throughout the match."

The day's second match saw Russian No 1 Maria Sharapova take on Karolina Pliskova, who had been picked ahead of Lucie Safarova.

That decision did not pay dividends, however, as Sharapova completed a 6-3 6-4 victory in 91 minutes, despite some erratic play.

The match was closer than the scoreline suggested, but Sharapova managed to win the points that mattered, converting four of 11 break points while saving five of the seven she faced.

And while the Russian made 25 unforced errors – including a whopping 10 double faults – to Pliskova's 13, she also produced 28 winners to her opponent's 11.

The Fed Cup continues on Saturday with the doubles match, which sees Safarova and Barbora Strycova tackle Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina.

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