Fed Cup 2016: Both ties end the day all square as Viktorija Golubic proves the unlikely star

Both ties ended the opening day level but it was the unheralded Swiss youngster who stole the headlines.

Fed Cup 2016: Both ties end the day all square as Viktorija Golubic proves the unlikely star
Viktorija Golubic proved the hero on day one (Source: Fed Cup)

The opening day of the Fed Cup 2016 semi finals ended with two stalemates as both Switzerland and France clawed their way back from opening defeats.  Reigning champions the Czech Republic looked comfortably on their way to a 2-0 lead before Viktorija Golubic stunned Karolina Pliskova, whilst Kristina Mladenovic saved Caroline Garcia's blushes against the Netherlands.

Another Swiss star is born

On a day where the biggest stars in women's tennis missed out, an unlikely Swiss hero was born.  Having watched her much highly fancied country woman, Timea Bascinzsky, falter to a damaging defeat in the day's earlier match, world ranked 129th Viktorija Golubic fought back from a set down to keep the depleted Swiss team's chances alive.  

Had you asked any of the Swiss fans crammed into the Messe Luzern to identify Golubic beforehand, in all likelihood they may have struggled given her lowly ranking and that this was her first ever tie at home.  Having never played in a singles match in the Fed Cup before, Golubic produced a stunning comeback victory to defy the the former top ten player. 

Barbora Strycova was part of the team which won last year's Fed Cup (Source: Fed Cup on Twitter)
Barbora Strycova was part of the team which won last year's Fed Cup (Source: Fed Cup on Twitter)

Her victory was made all the more amazing given the intensity of it, with Switzerland's top ranked player over the weekend, Bascinzsky, crumbling due to injury to Barbora Strycova in a demoralising 0-6 2-6 defeat.  However, despite the Swiss realistically needing the win to have any chance of making their first final since 1998, the youngster held her nerve from one set down to send the tie into the final day dramatically level.  Her 3-6 6-4 6-4 win was also her first Fed Cup appearance of the year.  

Kiki Bertens stuns Garcia but Mladenovic has the last laugh 

Over in France, the 2003 champions looked to be heading for a disasterous day after Caroline Garcia produced a miserable performance in her straight sets defeat to Kiki Bertens of the Dutch.

Garcia, who went into the match on the back of some poor form which included opening round defeats in both Doha and Indian Wells, struggled to deal with Bertens throughout.  Bertens, who had recently pushed Angelique Kerber all the way in Miami before illness took hold, looked fully recovered as she coasted to her fifth Fed Cup win in succession.

Mladenovic produced some brilliant tennis to level the tie at one apiece. (Source: Fed Cup Twitter)
Mladenovic produced some brilliant tennis to level the tie at one apiece. (Source: Fed Cup Twitter)

  

However, Garcia's blushes would be saved by Mladenovic who strolled to a straight sets win over Richel Hogenkamp.  Her 6-2 6-4 win, almost a mirror image of Garcia's 4-6 2-6 defeat, sets the final day up perfectly.