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Tennis | Fed Cup

Ayumi Morita © Gallo Images

Morita brings Japan level with Russia



Ayumi Morita drew Japan level 1-1 against Russia in their Fed Cup World Group first round match 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.

"I tried to keep myself concentrated throughout the match and played agressively and it helped me to beat her. I'm really pleased with my play today."

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 (Thailand), but managed to clinch my first ever win over Kimiko (Date-Krumm), who is a very uncomfortable opponent for me."

"The win in Pattaya boosted my confidence and now I feel myself on the rise. It helped me a lot to win today."

In the opening set Kirilenko, 26, battled back several times before eventually winning the first frame 7-3 in the tiebreak, taking just over an hour.

In the second set, Kirilenko appeared in complete control on the hardcourt surface at the Moscow Olympic arena by breaking her opponent's serve twice from the start for a 4-0 lead.

Date-Krumm refused to go down without a scrap and managed to reduce the deficit with a break in the eighth game but Kirilenko managed to hold onto her narrow advantage and finally closed out the match 6-4 to give Russia the opening point.

The reverse singles and doubles are set for Sunday with three points needed to win.

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