Krakow (Poland): Maria Sharapova was more than up to the challenge as she returned to the Fed Cup for the first time since 2012 on Saturday in her quest for Olympic gold next year.
Russia’s Maria Sharapova returns to Poland’s Urszula Radwanska during their Fed Cup World Group tie in Krakow, Poland on Saturday. pic/afp
Sharapova, who was the overwhelming favourite against Urszula Radwanska, an opponent ranked 133 places below her, in Saturday’s second match, cruised to a 6-0, 6-3 win to give the Russians the upper hand in the match.
“I’m certainly ready to go out and play this weekend”, the world number two, who leads Russia against Poland at the Krakow Arena here, had said on Friday night.
Sharapova lost to World No 1 Serena Williams in last Saturday’s Australian Open final. However, she showed no signs of missing out last night. She hit almost everything that came her way and ensured the Russians were well and truly in control of the fixture.
Sharapova was earlier wary of the away fixture. “Many things are expected when you play an away match might go against you as far as the court, the atmosphere and the crowd. But overall once the team gets out on the court, no matter, who we face, we thrive on the challenges. It’s important to focus on what we have to do,” said the Russian, who played just three ties for her country since her 2008 debut and has a 3-1 singles record in the women’s team event.
The winning team from this World Group opener in will face either Australia or Germany in the Fed Cup semi-final in April.