KHARKIV (Ukraine) (AFP) Flavia Pennetta beat Kateryna Bondarenko in straight sets to keep defending champions Italy on track in their Fed Cup opening round showdown against hosts Ukraine here on Saturday. The 27-year-old Pennetta won 7-5, 6-3 in one hour 39 minutes to level the score at 1-1 after Alona Bondarenko earlier beat Francesca Schiavone 6-1, 6-4. I had no right to lose today after Francesca (Schiavone) lost her opening rubber, Pennetta said. It was a tough and very tight match today. I was just a little bit better making slightly less own mistakes. The judging was not perfect today but it was not biased as the referees were making both-sided mistakes. Pennetta, ranked 12th, broke early for a comfortable 3-1 advantage. Bondarenko managed to break back to level at 4-4 but Pennetta broke again in the 11th game for a one-set lead after 55 minutes. In the second, Pennetta broke twice for a 3-0 advantage before Bondarenko reduced the arrears breaking back in the fourth game. Pennetta produced the deciding break in the ninth game to win the set, the match and to level Italys record with the hosts. Earlier, the elder Bondarenko sister Alona recorded Ukraines first ever win in the World Group beating Schiavone in straight sets to record her third win in seven meetings with Schiavone. It was really important to get a winning start in our first ever World Group match, Bondarenko said. But it wasnt as easy as the scoreline suggests, she added. I started well and felt confident in the first set but early in the second Schiavone came back and dominated play. Luckily I managed to stay in the game and won the set and the match. Bondarenko got off to a strong start with three breaks for a commanding 5-0 lead before Schiavone chalked up her first game also with a break. But the experienced Italian veteran looked a pale shadow of her normal self with a string of unforced errors allowing Bondarenko notch up her fourth break to take the opening set in 34 minutes. In the second, Schiavone picked up steam and clinched a 3-1 lead but Bondarenko managed to level before making the deciding break in the 10th game to win the set and the match. I could not resist her attacks in the first set as she played too good, Schiavone said. Early in the second I managed to find my normal tennis but failed to keep myself concentrated throughout the match. The winner of the tie will face either Germany or Czech Republic in the Aprils semi-final clash. Stosur leads Australia over Spain Samantha Stosur inspired Australia to a 3-2 win over Spain in their Fed Cup World Group II first round tie at Memorial Drive here on Sunday. The world number 11 Stosur featured in all three of Australias victories and joined with 38-year-old veteran Rennae Stubbs to gain the winning doubles rubber in the final match. Australia will now have an April play-off for elevation to the elite World Group for the first time since 2004. Stosur, who lost to world number one and eventual champion Serena Williams in the fourth round at this months Australian Open in Melbourne, won both her singles ties against Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez and Anabel Medina Garrigues. Carla Suarez Navarro had levelled the tie on Sunday with a 6-1, 6-1 win over former world number eight Alicia Molik, who is on the comeback trail and is currently ranked 170. But in the deciding tie, Stosur and Stubbs easily got Australia home with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Spanish pair Martinez Sanchez and Nuria Llagostera Vives. Spain were Fed Cup champions five times in the 1990s but last year were relegated to the World Group II following losses to the Czech Republic and Serbia. It was only Australias third victory in 10 Fed Cup series with Spain.