Fed Cup Preview
Originally published on: 19/04/13 00:00
The Czech Republic are just two wins away from becoming the first team since Spain (1993, ‘94, ‘95) to capture three successive Fed Cup titles but standing in their way this weekend is an in-form Italian side, who will be looking to avenge last year’s defeat.
World No.7 Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci, who reached a career high of No.12 this week, line out in singles for the home side, while the Czechs turn to star player Kvitova and the hero of last year’s final Lucie Safarova.
The two nations have met on eight previous occasions, with each side winning four ties apiece. The Czechs prevailed 4-1 in their most recent meeting at the semi-final stage last season.
Venue: Circolo del Tennis Palermo, Palermo, Italy
Surface: Outdoor red clay
R1: Sara Errani v Lucie Safarova
R2: Roberta Vinci v Petra Kvitova
R3: Sara Errani v Petra Kvitova
R4: Roberta Vinci v Lucie Safarova
R5: Flavia Pennetta/Francesca Schiavone v Andrea Hlavackova/Lucie Hradecka
Slovak Republic will be bidding to reach their first final in 11 years when they travel to the Sports Center Krylatskoye in Moscow to take on Russia. Slovak captain Matej Liptak has put his faith in Fed Cup veteran Daniela Hantuchova, who first represented her country 14 years ago, and world No.15 Dominika Cibulkova.
Russia, who will be playing in their seventh straight Fed Cup semi-final, will be without world No.2 Maria Sharapova as they bid for their first team title since 2008. The home side, however, still have top 20 players Maria Kirilenko and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to call upon with Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina pencilled in for doubles.
The Russians take a 2-0 head-to-head record over the Slovaks into the tie but the nations have not met since the World Group play-off in 2001.
Venue: Sports Center Krylatskoye, Moscow, Russia
Surface: Indoor red clay
R1: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova v Dominika Cibulkova
R2: Maria Kirilenko v Daniela Hantuchova
R3: Maria Kirilenko v Dominika Cibulkova
R4: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova v Daniela Hantuchova
R5: Ekaterina Makarova/Elene Vesnina v Magdalena Rybarikova/Jana Cepelova
The World Group play-offs are also in action this weekend. USA boast four top 30 players on their roster, including both Serena and Venus Williams, for their home tie against Sweden, who have no player inside the world’s top 50. Germany will be looking to bounce straight back into the top tier of the competition when they face a Serbian side buoyed by the return of Ana Ivanovic, while Switzerland and Spain play host to Australia and Japan respectively.
World Group Play-Offs:
Germany v Serbia
Switzerland v Australia
Spain v Japan
USA v Sweden
World Group II Play-Offs:
Belgium v Poland
France v Kazakhstan
Argentina v Great Britain
Ukraine v Canada