PERTH, Australia -- Alison Van Uytvanck held off an inspired Despina Papamichail in a top-quality United Cup rubber in Perth, winning 7-5, 2-6, 6-3 in 2 hours and 30 minutes to give Belgium an early 1-0 lead over Greece. However, Stefanos Tsitsipas responded by defeating David Goffin 6-3, 6-2 to draw the Group A tie level.

No.158-ranked Papamichail had previously notched just two Top 100 wins in her career, both last year -- over Dalma Galfi in Budapest and Zhu Lin in Monastir, her only two tour-level victories prior to this week. But, cheered on by a pro-Greece crowd at the RAC Arena, it was clear from the start that she had come to play.

Going after her forehand at every opportunity while also displaying her usual scrambling tenacity, the 29-year-old found 27 winners across the match compared to Van Uytvanck's 34. Papamichail ended a terrific all-court exchange with two smashes to break for 2-1 and found a remarkable backhand winner around the net post in the next game.

After two exchanges of breaks, Papamichail finally got a two-game cushion when she held for 5-3. But Van Uytvanck saved a set point with a bold serve-and-volley play, and Papamichail was unable to serve out the set after lapsing into error. With Van Uytvanck's net prowess coming to the fore, the Belgian reeled off four straight games to steal the opener.

Papamichail refused to fade, though. She rediscovered her form on her forehand to start the second set as she had started the first, and this time remained more solid on serve to maintain her lead to level the match.

Having committed 13 unforced errors to only four winners in the second set, the decider saw Van Uytvanck gather herself and raise her game. The WTA No.72 unleashed a powerful forehand to capture the first break of the set and build a 4-1 lead.

Papamichail wasn't done making an impact, and roused the crowd once more as she fought back with some terrific shot-making to cut Van Uytvanck's lead to 4-3. But the Belgian responded with a series of classy winners of her own, hammering an off forehand to break again for 5-3 and then converting her second match point with a solid one-two punch.

With Greece trailing, ATP No.4 Tsitsipas stepped up at a crucial moment to down Goffin. Despite struggling to find his best level early in his first tour-level meeting with Goffin since 2019, the Greek accelerated away in the second set as some precise serving and clean hitting carried him to an ultimately comfortable 78-minute victory.

"I enjoyed it out there, it was really nice," said Tsitsipas after the match. "I was able to play some of my best tennis towards the end, being consistent with serve and return. I had a bit of difficulty getting the rhythm on my serve at the very beginning of the match, but I figured it out throughout the match and managed to save some of the break points with some good serves."

Greece now requires just one win from the three remaining matches in the tie. They will hope WTA No. 6 Maria Sakkari can get the job done early in the first match scheduled for Tuesday in Perth, where she takes on Belgium's WTA No.29 Elise Mertens.

Nine-time tour-level titlist Tsitsipas fired 12 aces overall as he comfortably extended his head-to-head lead against Goffin to 5-2. It was a second singles triumph of the 2023 season for Tsitsipas, who overcame Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov in three sets in his opening match of the year on Thursday, but the Greek believes there is still plenty of room for improvement despite his fast start to the year.

"It's a very nice place to be when you are able to be so focused on a little fuzzy yellow thing that is coming from the other side of the court," said Tsitsipas. "That builds up a momentum, builds up this, let's call it zen mode, that I'm seeking for when I play tennis.

"I sort of had an 80% today. I feel like there is still the 20% left out there."

The ATP Tour contributed to this report.