MARSEILLE, France (AP) Caroline Garcia beat former French Open runner-up Sara Errani 6-3, 7-5 to move France level with Italy 1-1 after the opening day of their Fed Cup first-round tie on Saturday.
France coach Amelie Mauresmo will be relieved and frustrated in equal measure, after Kristina Mladenovic lost the opening singles to Camila Giorgi 1-6, 6-4, 6-1.
''I have mixed feelings. It was a scrappy match but I was up against a very aggressive player,'' Mladenovic said. ''There's little doubt about my desire to come back tomorrow and give everything.''
Mladenovic looked in control but was then let down badly by her serve, recording a measly 34 percent on her first serve.
''I played an almost perfect set, but what made the big difference was that my serve completely stopped working from 4-5 down in the second set,'' she said, largely blaming a foot-fault call during that ninth game for her demise.
''It completely affected my rhythm. In the whole of my career I've never had a foot-fault called. I'm not saying it wasn't one, but it's a bit weird that it came right at that moment.''
Giorgi then converted all three break-point chances in the deciding set to quieten the Palais des Sports crowd in Marseille.
When the teams met at the same stage last year, Italy led 2-0 and lost.
Garcia ensured France will not trail 2-0 before Sunday's reverse singles and doubles, breaking Errani's serve four times.
Errani, the holder of five Grand Slam titles in doubles, will team up with Martina Caregaro to face Pauline Parmentier and Oceane Dodin in the last rubber.