MOSCOW: Carla Suarez Navarro gave Spain renewed hope in their Fed Cup World Group first round tie against Russia here on Sunday by defeating off-form Nadia Petrova in the first of the reverse singles.
That made the score 2-1 in Russia's favour after the home team had won both singles in Saturday's opening play.
The 23-year-old Spaniard won 6-0, 6-3 in one hour four minutes against Petrova, a late replacement for Maria Sharapova, who was laid low with a cold after arriving back in snow-covered Moscow direct from sunny Australia.
Suarez Navarro started the match confidently breaking her rival three times to take the opening set at love in just 22 minutes, while Petrova, 29, looked a pale shadow of her normal self, producing a catalogue of unforced errors.
Petrova, who has slumped to 33rd in the WTA rankings, opened the second set with a break but then handed that back in the following game.
In the sixth game Barcelona resident Suarez Navarro secured the deciding break minutes before she took the set and the match.
On Saturday Russia grabbed a commanding 2-0 lead against Spain as both Kuznetsova and Sharapova chalked up straight-set wins.
Two-time Grand Slam winner Kuznetsova beat Suarez Navarro 6-3, 6-1 to take full points for the hosts after Sharapova had trounced Silvia Soler-Espinosa 6-2, 6-1.
The match winners will have to face either Belgium or Serbia in April's semi-finals while the losing team will have to fight for its World Group position in the play-offs. (AFP)