Kuznetsova draws Russia level with Czechs in Fed Cup final

    Russia's Svetlana Kuznetsova has now won five of her seven matches in Fed Cup finals.

    Story highlights

    • Fed Cup final is level at 1-1 after Saturday's opening singles rubbers
    • World No. 2 Petra Kvitova beats Maria Kirilenko in opening match in Moscow
    • Russia draw level as Svetlana Kuznetsova defeats Lucie Safarova
    • Czech Republic seeking first title in women's teams event since 1988
    Svetlana Kuznetsova drew on her vast experience to keep Russia in contention for a fifth Fed Cup tennis title in the final against the Czech Republic on Saturday.
    The 26-year-old, who featured in three of her nation's four winning line-ups between 2004 and 2008, helped Russia end the first day on level terms in Moscow after world No. 2 Petra Kvitova continued her remarkable year.
    Kvitova, who last weekend added the season-ending WTA Championships title to her July Wimbledon crown, gave the visiting Czechs a 1-0 lead when she beat Maria Kirilenko 6-2 6-2 in the opening singles rubber.
    Kuznetsova lost both of her singles matches in the 2004 final, a 3-2 win over France sealed in the deciding doubles tie, but was undefeated in four finals outings in 2007-08.
    The former U.S. Open and French Open champion continued that winning run as she beat Lucie Safarova 6-2 6-3.
    "I felt colossal pressure. But if I was playing that rubber in the year 2004, I think I would feel really tight and jittery," she told the Fed Cup website.
    "Now I have more expertise, and that expertise helped me to motivate myself and to motivate myself in the right direction."
    Kuznetsova, ranked 19th, will take on the 21-year-old Kvitova in Sunday's opening reverse singles rubber in their first career meeting.
    Kirilenko has a 4-1 career record over Safarova, but they have not met since 2009.
    The Czechs have not won the title since 1988, which came five years before the formation of the republic and Slovakia.