Fed Cup: In-form Maria Sharapova puts Russia in charge
Maria Sharapova defeated Urszula Radwanska 6-0, 6-3 as Russia took a 2-0 lead over Poland in the Fed Cup World Group with the superstar taking a first step towards Rio Olympics. Svetlana Kuznetsova earlier saw off Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 as four-time champions Russia edged closer towards the semifinal.
French Open champion Sharapova is playing just her fourth Fed Cup tie since her 2008 debut but in order to make the Olympics next year all players have to make themselves available for the annual team tournament. The world number two’s win was also a perfect tonic coming a week after her defeat to Serena Williams in the Australian Open final. Kuznetsova, a two-time Grand Slam champion, had already beaten the elder Radwanska sister in 10 of their 14 meetings. Kuznetsova, playing her 17th Fed Cup tie, took victory with an ace on her first match point. Sunday’s opening match will be between Sharapova and Agnieszka Radwanska with the Pole having to win to keep the tie alive. Sharapova holds an 11-2 advantage in meetings between the two and has not lost to Radwanska since 2012.
In Genoa, Italy lead France 2-0. Sara Errani defeated Caroline Garcia 7-6 (7/2), 7-5 to give Italy the lead. Camila Giorgi then made it 2-0 with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Alize Cornet. With four Fed Cup crowns, Italy, who are unbeaten at home since 2008, are firm favourites to make the semifinal.