Andy Roddick and James Blake battled to victory on a difficult surface to give the United States a 2-0 start to their defence of the Davis Cup on Friday.
The newly-laid clay court in Vienna provoked complaints from world number six Roddick, who opened the world group, first-round tie with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 6-7, 6-3 win over Austria's Juergen Melzer in just over four hours.
Blake dropped the first set against Austrian number one Stefan Koubek before coming through 5-7, 7-5, 6-2, 6-2.
Asked about the surface, which caused the ball to bounce erratically, Roddick told a news conference: "It was terrible but at least it was terrible for both sides. Is it the worst I've played (on) in the Davis Cup? Absolutely."
Russia, losing finalists to the US last year, also went 2-0 up on day one, helped by misfortune in the Serbian camp.
With world number three and Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic and national number two Janko Tipsarevic ruled out due to illness, it was left to doubles specialist Nenad Zimonjic and 114th-ranked Viktor Troicki to fly the Serbian flag.
Mikhail Youzhny beat Zimonjic 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 in the opener in Moscow before world number four Nikolay Davydenko defeated Davis Cup debutant Troicki 6-1, 1-6, 6-3, 1-6, 6-2.
Argentina had an easier task against a British side missing injured world number 11 Andy Murray.
Agustin Calleri beat Alex Bogdanovic 6-3, 6-1, 6-1 after world number nine David Nalbandian had coasted to a 6-1, 6-3, 6-3 victory over Davis Cup newcomer Jamie Baker on the home side's favourite clay surface in Buenos Aires.
Not all cup rookies had a bad day.
Australian Open finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga helped France go 2-0 up against Romania in the Transylvanian town of Sibiu with a 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 win over the vastly experienced Andrei Pavel.
World number seven Richard Gasquet had put nine-times champions France 1-0 up by beating Victor Hanescu 7-6, 6-4, 7-5 despite a nervous start.
In Ostrava, Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek guided Czech Republic into a 2-0 lead over Belgium. Berdych cruised past Kristof Vliegen 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 before Stepanek beat Steve Darcis 6-4, 7-6, 7-6.
South Korea ended the first day level with Germany in Braunschweig after Lee Hyung-taik battled to a 7-5, 6-3, 1-6, 6-7, 6-3 victory over Florian Mayer.
Philipp Kohlschreiber had given the home team a good start with an easy 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 win over world number 329 An Jae-sung on the indoor clay court.
Honours were even between Israel and Sweden in Tel Aviv.
Israeli number one Dudi Sela struggled in the first set against veteran Swede Jonas Bjorkman before winning 7-6, 6-3, 6-1 while former Australian Open champion Thomas Johansson had an easier time against Harel Levy, winning 6-1, 6-1, 6-3.