Moscow – Ayumi Morita gave Japan a 2-1 lead against Russia in their Fed Cup World Group first round tie with a comprehensive straight sets win over Elena Vesnina on Sunday.
Morita won 6-4, 6-1 in one hour 32 minutes to record her second win over Vesnina in their third head-to-head meeting.
“I wanted to win very much today and now I'm lucky because I managed to do it,” said Morita.
“I played well in both my encounters here and I'm really pleased with my performance this weekend.”
“It's a great honour and a serious responsibility for any player to represent your country in the Fed Cup. The fact that I won two points for my team has boosted my self-confidence a great deal.” she added.
The 22-year-old Morita, who is ranked 57th in the world, looked more confident from the start and broke early in the opening set to jump into a 4-1 lead.
Vesnina, 26, replaced Maria Kirilenko, who was able to play on Saturday but unable to on Sunday after she was sidelined with a cold on her trip to Moscow from Pattaya, Thailand, and she broke back in the ninth game but failed to level the set as Morita broke again in the 10th to take it in 52 minutes.
Vesnina, currently 33rd in the WTA rankings, started the second set with a break but Morita replied positively and moved up a gear to win six consecutive games, the set and the match.
Forty-two-year old veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm can give Japan victory if the can overcome the challenge of Russia's Ekaterina
Makarova in the final singles match for the decisive point, with the doubles rubber also scheduled.
On Saturday, Kirilenko put Russia 1-0 up beating Date-Krumm in a tough match 7-6 (7/3), 6-4, while Morita pulled the scores level beating Makarova 6-2, 6-2.
The winner of the tie will face the winner of the clash between Slovakia and Serbia in the April's semi-finals. – Sapa-AFP