Photo: Ray GiubiloRoberta Vinci (ITA)
The draws have been announced ahead of this weekend’s Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group semifinals, World Group play-offs and World Group II play-off ties.
Sara Errani opens for Italy in the hosts’ blockbuster semifinal against three-time champion Czech Republic in Palermo with a tie against Lucie Safarova. World No. 7 Errani will be desperate to get the hosts off to a good start and avenge an opening day defeat by the same nation at the same stage last year.
Petra Kvitova, who has been imperious in Fed Cup over the last few years, is scheduled to play Roberta Vinci in the second singles rubber on Saturday in what is bound to be a close-run affair.
In the other semifinal Daniela Hantuchova will look to use her wealth of experience to help the 2002 champions into the final for the first time in 11 years.
The world No. 75, who plays Russian No. 1 Maria Kirilenko in the second rubber, is ranked 30 places below Magdalena Rybarikova, but Slovak captain Matej Liptak has every faith in her ability to help the visitors to a victory over the four-time champions.
"You need to have the experience, there is a lot of emotion,” said Liptak. “I know Daniela is a very experienced player and that's why I believe in her.”
Hantuchova follows world No. 15 Dominika Cibulkova, who takes on Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the opening rubber.
For the full draw story from the World Group semifinals, World Group play-offs and World Group II play-offs click on the links below:
Italy v Czech Republic
Russia v Slovak Republic
Germany v Serbia
Switzerland v Australia
Spain v Japan
USA v Sweden
Belgium v Poland
France v Kazakhstan
Argentina v Great Britain
Ukraine v Canada