World #2 and #3 Petra Kvitova and Maria Sharapova both helped their countries to take 2-0 leads on the first day of Fed Cup 2012. With their teams playing in World Group I with a chance to emerge Fed Cup champion this year, Petra and Masha did not disappoint. Masha powered Team Russia by overwhelming Silvia Soler-Espinosa of Team Spain, 6-2 6-1. Meanwhile, Petra had was pushed to the edge by Team Germany’s Julia Goerges before eventually winning for defending Fed Cup champion Czech Republic, 3-6 6-3 10-8. I’m not surprised Goerges played well. She has a lot of talent, which she displayed in 2011 by twice defeating Caroline Wozniacki. Georges has a real shot to beat Iveta Benesova on day two of play. On the other hand, Benesova handled Sabine Lisicki, so she can’t be taken lightly.
Team USA is in World Group II and thus cannot win Fed Cup this year. But the journey back to World Group I starts with the first step. Christina McHale and Serena Williams each won their opening singles matches to put Team USA up 2-0 over Team Belarus after day one. But the big story of the day was that Victoria Azarenka pulled out of day one singles, being physically unable to play. That’s understandable after all she’s done the last month. Still, if Team Belarus has any hope of staging a comeback on day two of play, they will need Vika to play her rubber against Serena Williams. Vika not playing really hurt on day one. As much as I like Christina McHale, she would have been hard pressed to defeat Vika. A 1-1 split after day one is a lot different than being down 0-2. It’s not over for Team Belarus, but they need Vika.
Russia leads, 2-0
Czech Republic leads, 2-0
WORLD GROUP II
USA leads, 2-0