Prague: Maria Sharapova helped Russia level with the defending champion Czech Republic at 1-1 in the Fed Cup final on Saturday.
Sharapova defeated Karolina Pliskova 6-3, 6-4, after two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova overcame a slow start to beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 2-6, 6-1, 6-1. The reverse singles and doubles are on Sunday at O2 Arena.
Sharapova, who helped Russia win its last title in 2008, wasted two match points at 5-3, and converted the third one on serve when Pliskova's backhand went long.
Earlier, Kvitova was not able to find her game in the first set before staging a comeback. "I was nervous," Kvitova was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.
"It was difficult. I was trying to hold my serve in the second set and then I had an opportunity to break her. I think that game was really key for the second set and maybe for the match."
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