Russians Svetlana Kuznetsova and Elena Dementieva proved too strong for an understrength Chinese team and handed the champions a 2-0 lead in their Fed Cup first round tie on Saturday.
World number seven Kuznetsova overcame a scrappy performance in the second set to beat Yan Zi 6-2, 6-4 while Dementieva thumped Zhang Shuai 6-3, 6-0.
After dominating the first set, Kuznetsova lost her rhythm in the second to trail Yan 4-1, making 15 unforced errors.
However, she regained her focus in the nick of time to win five games in a row and complete victory in 72 minutes.
"I was not so good in the second set... I had to pull it up from a tough score," Kuznetsova told reporters.
Russia, who are bidding to win their fifth title in six years, are favourites to win the tie since China had to travel to Russia without their number one player, Zheng Jie.
Zheng failed to regain her fitness after injuring her left wrist during last month's Australian Open.
Although the match was played on an indoor hardcourt, the Chinese players also struggled to adjust the sub-zero temperatures in Moscow.
"Maybe it was not warm (enough)," Yan said.