Russia’s great depth of talent in women’s tennis proved to be too strong for Japan in the first round of the World Group tie played at the Olympic Stadium in Moscow over the weekend.
In the first rubber, 13th ranked Maria Kirilenko took on the Japanese legend Kimiko Date-Krumm, who is ranked at 77 and, on paper, this seemed to be an easy match for the Russian who has been playing very well for the past few months. In fact, the first set went to a breaker which Kirilenko won 7-3 and she then took the second set 6-4 to put the Russian 1-0 ahead. The second match was between Ekaterina Makarova, ranked at 20, against Ayumi Morita who is ranked at 57 and, in a turn up for the books, the Japanese player strolled through 6- 6-2 to level the tie.
Japan took a 2-1 lead when Morita got to her second singles victory as she defeated Elena Vesnina, ranked at 33. In the fourth rubber Makarova trounced Date-Krumm 6-1 6-1 to level the tie once again, with the doubles to be the decider.
Vesnina then teamed up with Makarova and took the doubles 6-2 6-2 against Misaki Doi and Morita to seal their place in the semis where they will place the Slovak Republic.