Russia have defeated Spain in the first round of the Fed Cup World group
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Russia had taken a seemingly unassailable 2-0 lead into Sunday’s play in their Fed Cup tie against Spain, but had to work harder than expected to clinch the win. Maria Sharapova was pulled from the action, leaving Carla Suarez Navarro to take on Nadia Petrova, who took part as her stand-in. Petrova was clearly caught cold, as Suarez Navarro put Spain straight back into the tie with a 6-0, 6-3 win.
At 2-1, Russia still had the upper hand, and Svetlana Kuznetsova was never expected to fall short against Silvia Soler-Espinosa. Everything went to script early on, with Kuznetsova racing off to a 6-2, 4-1 lead. Incredibly, Soler-Espinosa staged a dramatic comeback, winning five games in a row and forcing a third set in the process. Kuznetsova regained her composure though, and managed to claim an important victory for Russia (6-2, 4-6, 6-3).
Russia are now through to the semi-finals where they will face either Belgium or Serbia. Currently, Belgium have a 2-1 lead over the Serbs and will progress unless Bojana Jovanovski can beat Kirsten Flipkens.