Kvitova to lead Czechs

  • Last Updated: April 10 2013, 15:57 BST

Petra Kvitova will spearhead the Czech Republic's bid to reach a third successive Fed Cup final later this month.

Petra Kvitova: Czech star
Petra Kvitova: Czech star

The Czechs, who have won the trophy in each of the last two years, meet Italy in the semi-finals on the clay of Palermo when the former Wimbledon champion will be key to their chances.

Klara Zakopalova - who replaces Andrea Hlavackova - Lucie Safarova and Lucie Hradecka make up the team.

Top-10 star Sara Errani will lead an as-expected Italian team which also features Flavia Pennetta, former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone and Roberta Vinci.

The other semi sees Russia entertain the Slovak Republic.

The hosts are without their top-ranked player, Maria Sharapova, who rarely plays in the Fed Cup, and also Nadia Petrova.

Instead they are led by world number 12 Maria Kirilenko. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, the weekend winner in Monterrey, is added to a line-up which also includes Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina.

The Slovaks name an unchanged team of Dominika Cibulkova, Daniela Hantuchova, Magdalena Rybarikova and Jana Cepelova for the Moscow tie.

In the World Group play-offs, both Serena and Venus Williams have been named in the USA team which will take on Sweden in Delray Beach, Florida.

Australian Open semi-finalist Sloane Stephens and Varvara Lepchenko complete the team.

Sam Stosur is fit enough to be named in a full-strength Australia side who head to Switzerland. The former US Open champion has been nursing a calf injury.

Serbia will be without Jelena Jankovic for their clash with a strong German side led by Angelique Kerber.

In the World Group II play-offs, Marion Bartoli is set to play her first Fed Cup tie in nine years when France entertain Kazakhstan. She patched up her differences with the French Tennis Federation earlier this year but missed their February tie due to illness.

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