Former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone rallied to beat 89th-ranked Kateryna Bondarenko 6-7 (6), 7-5, 6-4 on Sunday and give Italy a 2-1 lead over Ukraine in the first round of the Fed Cup.
Dominating with a series of backhand winners up the line, Bondarenko was one game away from victory before surrendering a 5-1 lead in the second set.
Schiavone, who won Roland Garros in 2010 and was the runner-up last year, then began dominating with her expert baseline play and big serving.
Still, the Italian fell behind 4-2 in the third set before reeling off four consecutive games and punctuating the victory by following her serve to the net and ending it with a volley winner.
Next up, Sara Errani had a chance to seal the tie for Italy against 121st-ranked Lesia Tsurenko.