MOSCOW: Ayumi Morita drew Japan level 1-1 against Russia in their Fed Cup World Group first round match here on Saturday as she dismantled Ekaterina Makarova 6-2, 6-2 in a one-sided tie.
Earlier in the day, Maria Kirilenko had put the home team in front with a tough 7-6 (7/3), 6-4 win over 42-year-old veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm.
“Katya (Makarova) is a very strong player, who is in the world’s top 20, and I needed to perform my best tennis against her to win,” said Morita.
The 22-year-old Morita started the opening set strongly by breaking twice for a commanding 4-0 lead before world number 20 Makarova could establish herself in the match Moscow resident Makarova, reduced the arrears with a break in the sixth game but Morita, who is 57th in the WTA rankings, broke again in the seventh to win the first set in 30 minutes.
In the second set, Morita gained in confidence and broke the 24-year-old Makarova’s serve three times, before going on to close out the match after just 1hr 4mins.
Meanwhile, world number 13, Kirilenko had a tougher fight as she needed 2hrs 15 minutes to finally get the better of Date-Krumm, running out a 7-6 (7/3), 6-4 winner for her first victory over the evergreen veteran in three meetings.
“Finally I managed to win a point for my country,” Kirilenko said.
“I caught a cold on my return to Moscow from Pattaya but managed to clinch my first ever win over Kimiko.”