OSTRAVA, Czech Republic - With one Top 10 player in action for both the Czech Republic and Romania in World Group first round action on Saturday in Ostrava, each one did what was asked of her.
Former World No.1 Simona Halep drew visiting Romania level in the second rubber of World Group first round action, as she ran off the last seven games to defeat Katerina Siniakova, 6-4, 6-0.
Earlier, World No.5 Karolina Pliskova got the defending champions off to a strong start, as she defeated Mihaela Buzarnescu, 6-1, 6-4, in the first rubber of the tie.
"I think I played good tennis, and did what I had to against her," Halep told fedcup.com reporters after the match.
"It was difficult emotionally, because this is Fed Cup and it always feels different. She’s a difficult opponent, with her flat hitting and you can’t read the serve that easy, but in the end I got the timing."
Halep held off a furious comeback from the 22-year-old Czech, who had won two singles rubbers against the United States to help the home team win a sixth Fed Cup as an independent nation last fall.
Siniakova saved four set points in total as Halep served at 5-2, 40-0 to pull the opening set closer, and ultimately needed six chances to secure a one-set lead.
With that test behind her, the French Open champion found another gear, and surrendered just 10 points total in the second set to send Romania into Sunday even at 1-1.
The Australian Open semifinalist, tabbed as the No.1 player for the 11-time champions when Australian Open finalist Petra Kvitova withdrew from the tie, served six aces and saved all three break points she faced in the match against the World No.29.
Pliskova held after saving two break points in the opening game at the Ostravar Arena, and won the first five games of the opening set to win it at a canter.
Buzarnescu put up hard-fought resistance in the second set, however, as she held in each of her first four service games to keep pace with the former World No.1 - including when she fended off a pair of break points in a mammoth third game which went to deuce 10 times.
Nonetheless, Pliskova wore down Buzarnescu's defenses in the ninth game, capitalizing on a 0-30 lead for the deciding break, and sealed the deal in just under 90 minutes.
"It wasn’t my best Fed Cup game but it was solid, for sure," Pliskova told fedcup.com reporters after the match.
"I thought I’d play worse today because my training had not been the best, I was struggling with timing and hadn't played Fed Cup for a while so I was a little bit nervous."