French Open runner-up for the last two years Robin Soderling fought back from a set and 5-3 down to beat American Sam Querrey 5-7 7-5 7-6 at the World Team Cup on Monday.
The Swede, beaten by Roger Federer in 2009 and Rafa Nadal last year at Roland Garros, found himself on the ropes against the powerful Querrey before hitting back to level the red group tie at 1-1 with the doubles rubber to come later on Monday.
John Isner had earlier put last year's finalists in the driving seat when he beat lowly-ranked teenager Christian Lindell 6-4 6-1 at the team event which is traditionally used as useful French Open preparation.
Querrey, ranked 26th in the ATP rankings, matched Soderling's hard-hitting baseline game blow for blow early on and snatched his only break at 5-5 before grabbing the first set with his 10th ace.
Another break early in the second set for the big-serving American sent him 5-3 up and looking in conplete control before Soderling began to find his range.
The world number five rattled off the next five games to level the match. Soderling missed his first match point at 5-3 in the decider but carved out another one 20 minutes later to win after two hours and 25 minutes.
Hosts Germany completed what they started on Sunday, with world number 21 Florian Mayer sending them 2-0 up against Serbia with a 6-2 6-2 win over Viktor Troicki.
Mayer, who reached the Rome Masters quarter-finals last week and looked again in fine form, chased the frustrated Troicki across the court, hitting his trademark crosscourt running forehand to stretch the Serbian.
Another break put the 27-year-old German 5-2 up before another bad Troicki return gave the host nation their first win in the blue group. Philipp Kohlschreiber had beaten Janko Tipsarevic 6-4 7-6 on Sunday.