Jarmila Groth gave Australia a 1-0 lead in its Fed Cup clash with defending champion Italy by beating French Open champion Francesca Schiavone 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-3 on Saturday.
The loss put two-time defending champions Italy behind 1-0 in the first-round World Group match. Australia No 1 Sam Stosur was scheduled to play Flavia Pennetta in the second singles match. Stosur has not beaten Pennetta in three meetings.
Making her Fed Cup debut, Groth came from a set and service break down to secure the win in 2 1/2 hours, including a 13-minute rain delay. The rain came with Groth holding three match points and No. 4-ranked Schiavone dumped a forehand into the net upon the players' return to give Groth victory.