Andrea Petkovic saved match point to beat Dominika Cibulkova in the Slovak's first match since her magical run at the Australian Open. Fed Cup kicked off at tennis venues around the world Saturday.
WTA Staff

The 2014 season of Fed Cup kicked off at tennis venues around the world on Saturday, with Germany stealing the headlines with some inspired play in their World Group first round tie against Slovakia.

The first rubber was a nail-biter, with Andrea Petkovic scraping out a 26 76(7) 62 victory against Dominika Cibulkova in the Slovak's first match since reaching her first Grand Slam final at the Australian Open. Petkovic served to stay in the match twice in the second set and even saved a match point down 7-6 in the second set tie-break before eventually edging Cibulkova in three sets.

Angelique Kerber made it 2-0 for Germany after a 76(9) 61 victory against Daniela Hantuchova.

"The tie-break was so up and down and I was a little bit nervous, and I think Daniela was playing some of her best tennis there," Kerber said. "I think winning the tie-break was the key to the match.

"We were playing at a very high level and I'm glad I was able to win today."

"I think the tie-break was where the match was decided," Hantuchova said. "After that you could tell she was playing much more freely and hitting some amazing shots. I feel like I had so many chances in the first set - I couldn't take them, but I just gave my best and unfortunately it didn't go my way."

Australia also took an early 2-0 lead in their tie with Russia, with Top 2 Aussies Sam Stosur and Casey Dellacqua scoring straight set wins over Veronika Kudermetova and Irina Khromacheva.

"I didn't really know what to expect," Stosur said of her match with Kudermetova. "When you don't know your opponent you just need to go out there and focus on your own tennis and play exactly how you want to play. Straight away I could tell she liked to hit the ball hard and go for her shots, so I knew I just had to be ready to weather that storm and take my opportunities out there when I got them."

Elsewhere, Italy took a 2-0 lead over the United States after Karin Knapp beat Christina McHale and Camila Giorgi beat Madison Keys, and Spain was leading the Czech Republic 1-0 when rain stopped play the rest of the day - Carla Suárez Navarro beat Barbora Zahlavova Strycova in the first rubber.

All four World Group II first round ties also got underway, with Argentina taking an early lead over Japan, 2-0, but the tie between France and Switzerland and the tie between Poland and Sweden all even at 1-1. Agnieszka Radwanska recorded Poland's first point, outdoing Sofia Arvidsson, 61 61.

The other World Group II tie saw Canada, led by Eugenie Bouchard, go up 2-0 on Serbia.