Moscow, Russia – Serbia and Russia split the opening singles matches Saturday in their Fed Cup semifinal, as Jelena Jankovic gave the visitors the first point before Svetlana Kuznetsova squared it for the hosts.
Jankovic notched a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova before Kuznetsova gutted out a 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 win over Ana Ivanovic.
The best-of-five tie will come down to Sunday with a pair of reverse singles matches and a doubles rubber.
Jankovic had her serve broken to start the opening match and trailed 4-3 before winning the final three games, twice breaking Pavlyuchenkova's serve. The Russian double-faulted four times over her final two service games of the opening set.
Pavlyuchenkova responded with a break to begin the second set, but continued to struggle with her own serve as Jankovic broke three times in winning five consecutive games to take command. Jankovic has won 12 of her last 13 Fed Cup singles matches.
Kuznetsova then took control of the second match by winning the final four games of the opening set, before Ivanovic won all four of the Russian's service games to capture the second. Kuznetsova broke Ivanovic in the first game of the third and that was all it took. There were no more breaks and Kuznetsova won eight of the final nine points on her own serve.
Sunday's first reverse singles match is slated pit Saturday's losers, as Ivanovic meets Pavlyuchenkova. Maria Kirilenko and Elena Vesnina are also available for the Russian squad.
Jankovic then takes on Kuznetsova in the second singles match, while a potential doubles decider is currently scheduled to feature Kirilenko and Vesnina against the Serbian tandem of Bojana Jovanovski and Aleksandra Krunic.
The four-time champion Russians beat the Serbs, who have never won the Fed Cup title, in a first-round affair two years ago.
This weekend's winner will meet the Czech Republic-Italy victor in the 2012 Fed Cup final in November.