The Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group II play-offs are also taking place this weekend, with a place in next year’s World Group II at stake.
POLAND v SPAIN
Saturday – Play starts at 13:00 hrs (11:00 hrs GMT)
> Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) leads Carla Suarez-Navarro (ESP)
> Marta Domachowska (POL) v Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez (ESP)
Sunday – Play starts at 10:00 hrs (08:00 hrs GMT)
> Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) v Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez (ESP)
> Marta Domachowska (POL) v Carla Suarez-Navarro (ESP)
> Klaudia Jans / Alicja Rosolska (POL) v Nuria Llagostera Vives / Arantxa Parra-Santonja (ESP)
Agnieszka Radwanska will face Carla Suarez Navarro in what looks like a must-win opening rubber for Poland. The Polish No. 1 is the highest ranked player in Sopot, but without younger sister Urszula backing her up, the pressure will be firmly on Agnieszka to get the home team off to a winning start.
Urszula is absent through injury, providing an opportunity for Marta Domachowska to step into the breach. The 24-year-old will meet Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, Spain’s top player, in the second rubber.
"Spain is one of the best teams in the world,” said Tomasz Wiktorowski, Polish captain. “We know these players. We have seen them on many occasions, on different surfaces. What can I say - it will be tough.
“We have to win Saturday's matches and then we will be in a good place. We already forgot about the last tie, in Bydgoszcz. When it comes to tennis, we can not think about the past, we always think about the future.”
“This will be a very tough tie,” added Miguel Margets Lobato, Spanish captain. "We arrived in Sopot after 18 hours of travel. Luckily, we have had time to recover. The court is indoor hard, but it's new, so it's slower than taraflex regularly is.
“I think that my team has got huge potential. All of these players have ambitions, technique, everything. What is missing? I think that mentality all tennis pros, who are ranked in top 100, can play tennis. The difference is in their heads.”
CANADA v ARGENTINA
Saturday – Play starts at 13:00 hrs (17:00 hrs GMT)
> Aleksandra Wozniak (CAN) v Paula Ormaechea (ARG)
> Valerie Tetreault (CAN) v Jorgelina Cravero (ARG)
Sunday – Play starts at 12:00 hrs (16:00 hrs GMT)
> Aleksandra Wozniak (CAN) v Jorgelina Cravero (ARG)
> Valerie Tetreault (CAN) v Paula Ormaechea (ARG)
> Sharon Fichman/Marie-Eve Pelletier (CAN) v Victoria Bosio/Aranza Salut (ARG)
Canadian No. 1 Aleksandra Wozniak will bid to give the hosts the perfect start in their play-off tie against Argentina when she takes on Jorgelina Cravero, ranked over 250 places below her, in the opening rubber.
Valerie Tereault will enjoy an even greater ranking advantage against Argentine No. 1 Paula Ormachea in the second rubber, as the visitors look to overcome the odds and maintain their place in World Group II.
Canada is looking to return to World Group II for the first time since 2007, a year in which they lost their World Group II Play-off tie to this weekend's opponents on clay in Buenos Aires. This was the last meeting between the two teams, so the hosts will be eyeing revenge.
Coverage of the tie is available via Tennis Canada’s live webcast.
SLOVENIA v JAPAN
Saturday – Play starts at 16:00 hrs (14:00 hrs GMT)
> Katarina Srebotnik (SLO) v Kimiko Date-Krumm (JPN)
> Polona Hercog (SLO) v Ayumi Morita (JPN)
Sunday – Play starts at 12:00 hrs (10:00 hrs GMT)
> Polona Hercog (SLO) v Kimiko Date-Krumm (JPN)
> Katarina Srebotnik (SLO) v Ayumi Morita (JPN)
> Polona Hercog / Katarina Srebotnik (SLO) v Rika Fujiwara / Yurika Sema (JPN)
Katarina Srebotnik and Kimiko Date-Krumm will receive their Heart Awards together during the opening ceremony on Saturday, before taking to the court to do battle in the all-important first rubber.
At 29-years-old, Srebotnik is a youngster in comparison to her Japanese opponent, who turns 40 in September. Date-Krumm’s timely return to Fed Cup action in February inspired her team to its Asia/Oceania Zone Group I victory.
The second rubber sees Slovenia’s top player, Polona Hercog, take on Ayumi Morita, as both nations look to gain the early advantage in Maribor.
SWEDEN v CHINA, P.R.
The draw in Helsingborg will be made at 2:15pm on Saturday, with the action taking place on Sunday and Monday. The start has been delayed by one day due to the late arrival of the Chinese players, following travel complications caused by the volcanic ash cloud.
The only previous meeting between the two nations came back in 1989, when Sweden escaped with a 2-1 victory. On that occasion, the victory was clinched in the deciding doubles rubber, and Maria Strandlund-Tomsvik knows that it could be another close encounter this weekend.
“I look forward to it a lot,” said the Swedish captain on Thursday. “I’m proud of the team, just being here is a big thing for us because winning those four matches in Portugal in February was a great effort by the team.
“I’m very proud of them and I’m looking forward to this match against China which we know is going to be tough. They have a very strong team, an even team, but our girls are in good shape. It’s going to be interesting.”