Perth: World No 11 Beatriz Haddad Maia got her season off to a winning start on Friday, but it was not enough to prevent Brazil crashing 2-1 to Spain as the mixed teams United Cup kicked off in Perth.
The tie came down to a deciding doubles rubber, with Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and Sara Sorribes Tormo defeating Haddad Maia and two-time Grand Slam winner Marcelo Melo 6-4, 7-5.
Davidovich Fokina got Spain off to a winning start as he dispatched Thiago Seyboth Wild 6-4, 6-0, requiring four match points to earn the first victory of the tournament.
Haddad Maia then prevailed in the first WTA Tour match of the season by defeating Sorribes Tormo 7-6 (7/1), 6-2 to level the tie at 1-1.
The end of the crunch mixed doubles tie was tight, with Brazil saving a match point before falling seconds later.
“I knew I had to be calm near the end,” Davidovich Fokina said. “I needed to focus on every point — in doubles things can change very quickly.”
Sorribes Tormo credited her compatriot with pulling them through.
“When you have your team behind you and such an amazing partner, everything is easier,” she said. “This was my first mixed doubles; I’m very happy to win.”
Spain are playing without Rafael Nadal at the 18-nation mixed teams event held in Perth and Sydney, with the 37-year-old ending a year-long injury absence at the Brisbane International instead.