MOSCOW – Maria Sharapova and Svetlana Kuznetsova won opening singles matches Saturday to give Russia a 2-0 lead over Spain in the first round of the Fed Cup.
Sharapova routed Silvia Soler-Espinosa 6-2, 6-1. Kuznetsova then downed Carla Suarez Navarro 6-3, 6-1.
After an early exchange of breaks, Sharapova won four consecutive games in the first set and four more in the second. She closed the match on her first match point with a forehand that Fed Cup rookie Soler-Espinosa failed to return.
"I was a bit nervous before the beginning of the match as I failed to show my best tennis in my previous Fed Cup appearance in Moscow," Sharapova said.
Sharapova is playing for Russia for the third time. The three-time Grand Slam champion won both her singles matches against Israel in 2008. She lost in opening singles against France last year.
"It was very important to stay concentrated, to believe and prove that my tennis is better and to win the match," shed said. "Luckily, I managed to do all that and now I'm really satisfied with my performance."
Russia has won the Fed Cup title four times since 2004 and is 5-1 against Spain, which won the title five times between 1991 and 1998. The series winner will play Belgium or Serbia in the semifinals on April 21-22.
Kuznetsova won four consecutive games before Suarez Navarro narrowed the gap to 4-3 in the first set. But the two-time major winner won five more games in a row to take a 3-0 lead in the second set. She converted her second match point with a service winner.
"From the scoreline, the match looked easy but in fact it was a bit difficult," Kuznetsova said. "But I've played rather well today and I'm satisfied with my tennis."
In Sunday's reverse singles, Sharapova will face Suarez Navarro, and Kuznetsova will take on Soler-Espinosa. In doubles, Russia's Nadia Petrova and Ekaterina Makarova will play Nuria Llagostera Vives and Arantxa Parra Santonja.