France and Belarus were in command of their Fed Cup first-round ties while defending champion the Czech Republic and Romania split their opening singles on Saturday.
Australian Open semifinalist Karolina Pliskova won the first point for the Czechs after easing past Mihaela Burzanescu 6-1, 6-4 on an indoor hard-court in Ostrava.
But Simona Halep won the second singles by routing Katerina Siniakova, the star of last year’s final against the United States, 6-4, 6-0.
Pliskova and Halep, both former world No. 1s, will meet in the key first reverse singles on Sunday.
Romania has never beaten the Czechs, or been past the Fed Cup quarterfinals.
In Liege, Caroline Garcia returned to the Fed Cup for the first time since the 2016 final to overcome Alison Van Uytvanck 7-6 (2), 4-6, 6-2 and give France the first point against Belgium.
Alize Cornet made it 2-0 after defeating Elise Mertens 7-6 (6), 6-2.
Belarus, a finalist in 2017, took control in Braunschweig after Aliaksandra Sasnovich beat Tatjana Maria 7-6 (3), 6-3, and Aryna Sabalenka dispatched Andrea Petkovic 6-2, 6-1.
Belrarus is one win away from avenging…