The lone household name in this weekend's Davis Cup World Group first round, Novak Djokovic, had to shake off the rust Friday before posting a singles victory, with the win putting the 2010 champion Serbia into a 2-0 command of Russia.
After a four-and-a-half-hour win from teammate Viktor Troicki over Karen Khachanov, 6-4, 6-7 (3-7), 6-3, 1-6, 7-6 (8-6), world number two Djokovic gave his side a second point, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2, 1-0, when Daniil Medvedev quit with a leg injury.
Djokovic needed two and a quarter hours, breaking his hampered opponent seven times while losing his own serve five times. He was out-hit on winners, 21 to 24, for an opponent ranked 63rd, in the Serbian city of Nis.
Troicki trailed 4-0 in his fifth-set tiebreaker against Khachanov, but squeezed out a tight victory, earning a match point on 6-5 with a forehand before closing it out.
In Frankfurt, Belgian Steve Darcis added to the long-running Davis Cup hard luck of Philipp Kohlschreiber, defeating the German 6-4, 3-6, 2-6, 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-5), while Alexander Zverev ended the day 1-1 with his defeat of Arthur De Greef, 6-3, 6-3, 6-4, to make it 1-1.
"This one was really tough. I was leading the first set and I was really down but in the end I am really happy to get through," Darcis said.
"It's a great win to beat Philipp in Germany. The key is to fight and to fight and I could see he was a little bit tired."
In Buenos Aires, holder Argentina crashed into a 0-2 hole against Italy, as Paolo Lorenzi beat Guido Pella 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 before substitute Andreas Seppi stopped Carlos Berlocq 6-1, 6-2, 1-6, 7-6 (8-6).
Former footballing legend Diego Maradona watched the 2016 champions go down as the nations met for the third time in four years.
Juan Martin del Potro is out of action with chronic wrist problems.
Last season's runner-up Croatia stands 1-1 with Spain after Croatian Franko Skugor, only the fifth-best in the national rankings, upset Pablo Carreno Busta 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (8-6).
Spaniard Robert Bautista Agut levelled with a defeat of Ante Pavic 6-4, 6-2, 6-3.
In Melbourne, Australia stormed to a 2-0 lead over the Czech Republic. Debutant Jordan Thompson produced a straight-set win while Nick Kyrgios followed up with another crushing victory.
Captain Lleyton Hewitt was all smiles after young gun Thompson began his Davis career on the fast track. The number 65 hammered nervous Czech Jiri Vesely, 6-3, 6-3, 6-4, to open the event at the iconic Kooyong club.
Kyrgios finished off a 21-ace performance as he won only his third live rubber match, overcoming a few closing niggles to advance on a sixth match point over untried Czech Jan Satral, 6-2, 6-3, 6-2, in 95 minutes.
"Both boys performed well, there are always a lot of nerves coming into the first day," Hewitt said.
In Tokyo, Richard Gasquet handed France a lead over Japan, with his 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 defeat of Taro Daniel at the Ariake Colosseum. Gilles Simon concluded a spotless day for a 2-0 lead as he dispatched Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan, 6-3, 6-3, 6-4.