Sharapova gives Russia lead

2012-02-04 15:06

Moscow - Maria Sharapova put Russia 1-0 up over Spain in their Fed Cup World Group first round tie here on Saturday by defeating Silvia Soler-Espinosa 6-2, 6-1.

Playing for the first time since losing in straight sets to Viktoria Azarenka in the final of the Australian Open, Sharapova opened with a break but then handed that back in the following game.

But the Russian then ran off four games in a row to stamp her authority on the game, taking the first set in 52 minutes.

In the second set Soler-Espinosa, ranked 77th in the world, ran out of gas, allowing Sharapova to grab three more breaks and win comfortably.

"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.

"It was very important to stay concentrated, to believe and prove that my tennis is better and to win the match. Luckily, I managed to do all that and now I'm really satisfied with my performance."

The clash between Russia's Svetlana Kuznetsova and Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain will complete Saturday's match schedule.