OSTRAVA, CZECH REPUBLIC: Sara Errani will spearhead the Italian challenge against Czech Republic’s Lucie Safarova following a Willy Wonka style Easter egg draw for the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group semifinal in Ostrava.
The team captains from both nations were asked to choose four Easter eggs from a basket, with Sara Errani finding the lucky golden ticket underneath the wrapper to determine Saturday’s running order.
The world No. 6, Petra Kvitova will then take to the court against the in-form rising star, Camila Giorgi, who reached her first Tour final in Poland just last week.
The reverse singles matches will be played on Sunday, with Kvitova playing Errani prior to Safarova against Giorgi.
The potentially deciding doubles match sees the Italian veteran Roberta Vinci alongside Karin Knapp against Andrea Hlavackova and Klara Koukalova.
This semifinal tie at the Cez Arena pits the world’s top two ranked women’s teams against each other with Italy and the Czech Republic having shared the Fed Cup title between them for the last five years.
With home advantage, the Czech Republic camp is quietly confident of upsetting the defending champions – especially as the matches will be played on the team’s favoured hard court surface.
Czech Republic’s Captain, Petr Pala says it could prove critical on Sunday. “I hope it will be the difference because when we play in Italy they always prepare a nice clay court surface for us, so now its our turn to prepare our surface. But these players can play on any surface – I think and I hope that it will give us a small advantage”.
The Italian doubles player, Roberta Vinci, is weary of the surface advantage, having lost to Czech Republic in the same arena just two years ago. “They play better on this court, of course. We played in Palermo last year on clay and we won and we lost here two years ago on the same surface, so yes, they play good. But you never know!”
Petra Kvitova is the highest ranked player in the tie but she is planning on drawing on the local fans to help her through any tight spots she might encounter over the weekend.
“They are really important for us. We know they are there and still supporting us after every point if you lose or if you win - it is so beautiful to know it”.
Kvitova believes the strength of both nations in Ostrava this weekend will guarantee a great exhibition of women’s tennis and more generally women’s sport. “They are great opponents and we are so glad to play them. It's a great battle and a big challenge for everyone playing. We hope everyone who watches will enjoy it”.
The full draw is listed below:
R1: Lucie Safarova (CZE) v Sara Errani (ITA)
R2: Petra Kvitova (CZE) v Camila Giorgi (ITA)
R3: Petra Kvitova (CZE) v Sara Errani (ITA)
R4: Lucie Safarova (CZE) v Camila Giorgi (ITA)
R5: Andrea Hlavackova/Klara Koukalova (CZE) v Karin Knapp/Roberta Vinci (ITA)
Follow this tie as it happens: Live scores or Watch Live
Sara Errani (ITA) - 18/04/2014
Captain Petr Pala (CZE) - 18/04/2014
Petra Kvitova (CZE) - 18/04/2014