Petra Kvitova will lead Czech Republic’s bid to reach the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Final for the third time in four years after the semifinal team nominations were announced on Wednesday.
The world No. 6 has been nominated to head up a full-strength Czech team, which also features Lucie Safarova, Klara Koukalova (formely Zakopalova) and Andrea Hlavackova, in its semifinal against Italy at the Cez Arena in Ostrava on 19-20 April.
Italian captain Corrado Barazzutti welcomes back Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci, who played key roles in guiding their nation to a fourth Fed Cup triumph last year in Cagliari, after both missed Italy’s opening round win over USA. Karin Knapp and Camila Giorgi, responsible for winning the decisive rubbers for the visitors in the first round in Cleveland, complete the Italian line-up.
The upcoming semifinal tie will be the fourth time in the last five years that Czech Republic and Italy have met at this stage of the competition, with Italy holding a 2-1 advantage in their previous clashes during that time.
That said, the home nation has always prevailed in those encounters and the Czechs will hope to continue that pattern to earn the chance to play for an eighth Fed Cup crown in November's final.
Alicia Molik has named an unchanged team for Australia’s semifinal against Germany in Brisbane. Former US Open champion and world No. 20 Sam Stosur leads the host nation, with recent Indian Wells quarterfinalist Casey Dellacqua, Ashleigh Barty and Storm Sanders lining up again on home soil following their 4-0 first round triumph over Russia in Hobart in February.
They'll take on a daunting German team consisting of world No. 7 Angelique Kerber, recently-crowned Charleston champion Andrea Petkovic, Julia Goerges and Anna-Lena Groenefeld.
But while Barbara Rittner's Germany will be determined to make the most of the lengthy trip to Brisbane by reaching their first final since 1992, Australia captain Molik believes her team is more than capable of victory.
“I’m delighted to have such a strong and cohesive team and am keen to build on the terrific results we achieved against Russia in February,” said Molik.
“The girls work together really well both on and off the court and I believe we have a really good chance against Germany, who no doubt will be tough to beat.”
World Group semifinals
Czech Republic v Italy
Venue: CEZ Arena, Ostrava, Czech Republic, (hard - indoors)
Captain: Petr Pala
Captain: Corrado Barazzutti
Australia v Germany
Venue: Queensland Tennis Centre, Brisbane, Australia – (hard - outdoors)
Captain: Alicia Molik
Captain: Barbara Rittner