Palermo. Italy (Sports Network) - When the best-of-five semifinal between
the two-time defending champion Czech Republic and host Italy swings into
action on Saturday, French Open runner-up Sara Errani will face Lucie Safarova
in the opening singles rubber at Circolo del Tennis Palermo.
Errani-Safarova will be followed by a bout between former Wimbledon champion
Petra Kvitova and Italian veteran Roberta Vinci, who's fresh off her WTA title
in Katowice, Poland last week.
On Sunday in Palermo, the reverse singles will pit the seventh-ranked Errani
against the world No. 8 Kvitova and the 12th-ranked Vinci versus the No. 25
Safarova, while the potentially deciding doubles rubber will have an Italian
duo of Flavia Pennetta and former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone
going up against a Czech tandem of Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka
outdoors on red clay.
The Czechs are captained by Petr Pala, while the Italians are guided by
The Italians are 4-2 all-time against the Czech Republic, but the Czechs won
their last meeting in a semifinal last year in Ostrava after dropping their
previous four ties against Italy.
The winner in Palermo will face the Russia-Slovak Republic victor in the World
Group final in the first week of November.
The Czechs beat Serbia in last year's final to capture a second straight Fed
Cup. The Italians were back-to-back champs in 2009 and 2010 and have won three
of the last seven championships.
The Sports Network