Fed Cup tennis smei-finals this weekend

Lucie Safarova and Caroline Garcia will open the Fed Cup semi-final tie between holders the Czech Republic and France in the eastern Czech city of Ostrava on Saturday.

Safarova, the world number 13 and the Czech number two, will take on 29th-ranked French number one Garcia on the hardcourt of Ostrava’s CEZ Arena.

The Czech Republic’s world number four Petra Kvitova will then face world number 58 Kristina Mladenovic.

French captain Amelie Mauresmo overlooked a better-placed Alize Cornet to give Mladenovic a chance.

“The players know the choice is difficult and complicated,” said Mauresmo, who also coaches Briton Andy Murray and who made the headlines earlier this month when she announced her pregnancy.

“There’s a number of parameters you have to take into account.”

In February, Mladenovic started France’s spectacular comeback from 2-0 down in Italy after day one when she stunned Sara Errani in the third rubber of the Fed Cup quarter-finals as Mauresmo’s surprise pick.

“We’ll see what will happen on Saturday and then we can talk about Sunday,” the 35-year-old Mauresmo said.

In Sunday’s reverse singles, Kvitova will first play against Garcia and Safarova is then due to take on Mladenovic.

Karolina Pliskova and Barbora Strycova were drawn against Cornet and Pauline Parmentier for Sunday’s doubles.

The Czechs have won three Fed Cup titles in the past four years, in 2011, 2012 and 2014.

The French, who last won the trophy in 2003, are appearing in the Fed Cup semi-finals for the first time since 2007 and attempting to reach the final, an achievement they last pulled off in 2005.

In Sochi, Russia, Svetlana Kuznetsova will face Julia Goerges in Saturday’s opening rubber of the semi-final clash between Russia and Germany.

Kuznetsova, Russia’s leading player and the world number 24, has 26 wins so far in the competition. She has a chance to become Russia’s most successful player in Fed Cup history if she wins just one more rubber.

“Of course I’d like to have more time after the end of the hard-court season to adjust myself better for the clay courts,” Kuznetsova said.

“It’s hard to evaluate my condition without adequate match practice.”

She will be followed on court by teammate Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, 38th in the WTA rankings, who will face Germany’s world number 19 Sabine Lisicki in the second singles.

In Sunday’s reverse singles, Kuznetsova will first play against Lisicki and Pavlyuchenkova is then due to face Goerges.

In Sunday’s last rubber Elena Vesnina and Vera Zvonareva, a replacement for injured Maria Sharapova, will play Angelique Kerber and Andrea Petkovic in the doubles.

The match at the red clay courts of Adler Arena will be the fifth meeting between the two nations. Russia holds a 3-1 lead in the head-to-head but Germany won the last meeting 3-2 in the 2002 World Group first round.

* All Offers and Promotions posted in this article excludes NSW residents.
Stay up to date with the latest sports news
Follow our social accounts to get exclusive content and all the latest sporting news!