Netherlands, Poland and Russia made strong starts on day one of Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Europe/Africa Zone Group I action.
Robin Haase and Igor Sijsling both won their singles rubbers against Adrian Ungur and Victor Hanescu respectively to leave the hosts with a mountain to climb.
Jerzy Janowicz gave Poland the perfect start against South Africa with a 64 63 63 victory over Jean Andersen. The big-serving Pole had not been feeling well due to flu, but still managed to fire down some serves around the 230kmph mark.
Janowicz said: "I'm happy I won the match. As you may know I've been ill for a few days now. I haven't had a chance to practice a lot here so I'm verry happy to have won this match.
"I didn't think of retiring or pulling out of Davis Cup at any point. It's not a random tournament. It's Davis Cup so I felt I had to be here and play."
Andersen added: "It was a really tough match. At the beginning I was having trouble returning. I tried to predict his serves. Obviously I'm disappointed about losing but quite happy with my game.
"I created chances but unfortunately couldn't capitalize them. He came up with his huge serve whenever it was 15-40 or 30-40. So that was tough.
"It was fun to play out there. The crowd was good. There were no problems. I think the fans were great."
In Coventry, Dmitry Tursunov used all of his experience to edge past Dan Evans in five sets to give Russia a 1-0 lead before Evgeny Donskoy broke British hearts when coming back from two sets down to defeat James Ward in a long day at the Ricoh Arena.
It's honours even in the Ukraine after Alexandr Dolgopolov took the first point for the hosts before Markus Eriksson brought the Swedes level.
Click the links below to find out more information about the ties.
Great Britain v Russia
Poland v South Africa
Romania v Netherlands
Ukraine v Sweden