Moscow: Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova lifted the Czech Republic into a 2-1 lead against hosts Russia in the Fed Cup final showdown, beating two-time Grand Slam winner Svetlana Kuznetsova on Sunday.
Kvitova battled back from a set down to win her first ever meeting with the 26-year-old Kuznetsova 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 in two hours 13 minutes.
Kvitova, fresh from her success at last week's season-ending WTA championship in Istanbul, came into the match full of confidence, starting the rubber with a break.
But the 2004 US Open and 2009 French Open champion Kuznetsova broke back immediately to level at 1-1.
The opponents continued trading breaks in the latter stages of the opening set but Kuznetsova, 19th in the WTA rankings, was the more accurate as she clinched a one-set lead in 52 minutes.
In the second set, Kvitova, who is currently number two in the world, moved up a gear, breaking twice to pull the scores level at one set all after one hour 28 minutes on court. Kuznetsova lost her nerve, producing a catalogue of unforced errors.
In the deciding set, Kuznetsova put her feet back on the ground breaking Kvitova's serve early for a comfortable 3-0 lead.
But the 21-year-old Czech star replied positively, taking six consecutive games, the set and the match to place her squad just one point away from winning the prestigious trophy.
On Saturday, Kvitova drew first blood for the Czechs, beating Maria Kirilenko of Russia 6-2, 6-2, while Kuznetsova pulled the scores level with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Lucie Safarova.
The match between Kirilenko and Safarova was to follow.