Stowe:Francesca Schiavone beat Amelie Mauresmo in straight sets to bring holders Italy level with France at 1-1 after the first day of their Fed Cup semi-final in Castellaneta on Saturday.
Schiavone completed a 7-5 6-3 victory over an off-colour Mauresmo in the day's second singles rubber.
Earlier, Tatiana Golovin had got the French off to a winning start as she beat Tathiana Garbin 6-3 2-6 6-2.
The Fed Cup semi-finals got underway on Saturday, with the USA facing Russia in Vermont, and holders Italy entertaining France in Castellaneta.
On Bastille Day, Tatiana Golovin was looking to get France off to the best possible start as she took on Tathiana Garbin in the opening singles rubber.
Golovin took a scrappy first set by six games to three - but the Italian number one hit back in the second set.
Cheered on by a modest but partisan home crowd, Garbin broke to love in the fifth game of the set and then won the next three to level the match.
The third set went against serve for the first four games, but world number 19 Golovin showed a little more quality when it mattered most.
The Frenchwoman's greater power from the baseline forced two more breaks and she went on to close out the match, 6-3 2-6 6-2.
That gave France an early 1-0 lead against the defending champions, before Francesca Schiavone took on Amelie Mauresmo in the second singles rubber.
Mauresmo has been someway short of her best form of late.
The French number one lost her Wimbeldon crown following a tame defeat to Nicole Vaidisova in the fourth round.
And despite moments of class during Saturday's encounter, she struggled to find any kind of consistency.
There were seven breaks of serve in a scrappy first set.
But Schiavone grabbed the most crucial in the 11th game with a superb pass down the line.
That put her 6-5 up. And she held her nerve to serve out for the set, taking it by seven games to five.
In the second set, Schiavone then broke Mauresmo again in a marathon first game.
And Italy's number three - ranked 31 in the world - never looked troubled from there on.
A further break eased her to victory - 7-5 6-3 - and brought the holders level at 1-1 in the tie.
The reverse singles and doubles take place on Sunday.