Spain's David Ferrer dispatched Marco Chiudinelli in straight sets to level the depleted champions' Davis Cup first-round tie against Switzerland at 1-1 in Logrono on Friday.
Seven of the eight World Group matches were under way around Europe, with the start of Chile's tie at home to Israel delayed to Saturday because of the disruption caused by last weekend's deadly earthquake.
World number two Novak Djokovic fired Serbia to a 2-0 lead over the United States in Belgrade with a 6-2, 7-6, 2-6, 6-3 victory over Sam Querrey, after compatriot Viktor Troicki's hard-fought win over John Isner, also in four sets.
Russia carved out a 2-0 advantage over visiting India, victories for Gael Monfils and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga put France 2-0 up at home to Germany, and last year's finalists Czech Republic also opened up a 2-0 lead in Belgium.
Stanislas Wawrinka, leading the Swiss in the absence of world number one Roger Federer, drew first blood at the Plaza de Toros de Ribera bullring when he twice battled back from a set down to beat Nicolas Almagro 3-6, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5, 6-3.
Backed by the noisy, red and yellow-clad home support, Ferrer then fought off stiff resistance from the powerful, 56th-ranked Chiudinelli in the second set on the clay before completing a 6-2, 7-6, 6-1 victory.
"It was a very hard match," Ferrer told a news conference. "The result suggests it was easier than it actually was but in the second set above all it was very difficult."
Ferrer, ranked 16th in the world, is the only survivor from last year's Cup-winning team, with Rafael Nadal (3) and Fernando Verdasco (12) injured and Feliciano Lopez not selected. Juan Carlos Ferrero (14) withdrew with wrist and knee problems.
The three-day, best-of-five tie is finely balanced ahead of Saturday's doubles, when home pair Tommy Robredo and Marcel Granollers play Wawrinka, who won the Olympic doubles gold in Beijing with Federer, and Yves Allegro.
The Swiss are bidding to become the first team to beat the Spanish in 19 home ties stretching back to a defeat by Brazil in 1999. Spain also won the title in 2000, 2004 and 2008.
France's Monfils earned his first Davis Cup point in Toulon when he fought past tenacious German Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 before Tsonga took four sets to beat Benjamin Becker.
"To win that game was a matter of honour because Kohlschreiber is a real fighter," Monfils said.
"It was one of my best matches of the season," he added. "I'm very happy with the way I moved on the court and the way I controlled the match and, of course, very happy to bring the point for France for the first time."
Sweden's Robin Soderling beat Eduardo Schwank 6-1, 7-6, 7-5 in the opening singles in Stockholm to put the hosts ahead against Argentina before Leonardo Mayer levelled by recovering from a set down to beat Joachim Johansson in four.
Ivo Karlovic and Marin Cilic gave Croatia a 2-0 advantage over Ecuador in Varazdin, beating Lapentti brothers Nicolas and Giovanni in five and three sets respectively.
After finding out he was playing an hour before the start, Russia's Igor Kunitsyn rallied to defeat Somdev Devvarman 6-7, 7-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the opening singles in Moscow and Mikhail Youzhny followed up with a straight sets demolition of Rohan Bopanna.
Kunitsyn, drafted in after the injured Igor Andreev pulled out, said: "It was a surprise for me and there is no way you can prepare yourself with just an hour to go before your match."