WTA Tour

Kvitova v Petkovic in Fed opener

2014-11-07 13:53
Petra Kvitova (AFP)

Prague - Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova will take on Andrea Petkovic in the opening rubber of the Fed Cup final between the Czech Republic and Germany starting in Prague on Saturday.

After Friday's draw, world number four Kvitova will face 14th-ranked Petkovic on the hardcourt of Prague's O2 Arena at 1200 GMT on Saturday.

Then 17th-ranked Lucie Safarova will take on Germany's world number ten Angelique Kerber.

"It really doesn't matter who is going to play first," said the 24-year-old Kvitova, who has lost four of seven encounters with Petkovic so far.

"It's been a long time since we last played each other in 2011, a lot of things have changed since that time. I know I really need to be focused on myself."

"I hope the home crowd will be an advantage for us," said Kvitova, who led the Czechs to Fed Cup wins in 2011 and in 2012 when they beat Serbia 3-1 at a packed Prague arena.

Petkovic, who is 27, said she was happy to play the first match.

"Petra's such a great player, she has a little more experience, she's already won two Wimbledon finals and she won the Fed Cup before," Petkovic said.

"We are nervous, definitely, in a good way, excited (but) we'll try to transfer it into an energy and into positive emotions, hopefully we can do it as a team together."

Safarova lost her only rubber against Kerber in 2012, but she was upbeat ahead of the clash pitting two left-handers.

"Angie's been a top ten player for a few years already so I expect a tough match, but I'm excited, looking forward, and I hope I will bring a point for the team," said the 27-year-old Czech.

Kerber, who is 26, said she knew Safarova well from common practices.

"Lucie is a great player, she has played very well in the last few months," she added.

In Sunday's reverse singles rubbers, Kvitova will take on Kerber in a clash of the teams' number-one players and Safarova will then face Petkovic.

A reunited Czech pair of Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka are then due to take on Germany's Julia Goerges and Sabine Lisicki in the doubles.

Hlavackova and Hradecka decided to team up again last month after a 2013 split following two Grand Slam titles and the 2012 Olympic silver medal from London.

"I have confidence in them and if it comes down to 2-2, it's the best team I have," said Czech captain Petr Pala.

By calling up Hlavackova, Pala sidelined rising Czech star Karolina Pliskova, the world number 24, who was originally nominated for the tie.

While the Czechs are eyeing their third Fed Cup win in four years, Germany are looking for their first title since 1992, when a team led by Steffi Graf and current captain Barbara Rittner won the title.

The hosts however lead Germany 6-1 in previous meetings.

In their last Fed Cup encounter, the Czech Republic led by Kvitova beat Lisicki-led Germany 4-1 in Stuttgart in February 2012, with Hradecka, Goerges and Kerber also playing.

Rittner said a message the team had received from Graf before the draw might turn out to be a lucky charm, but kept mum about its content.

"The girls liked it and we keep it as a secret, maybe we'll talk about it after a win."

Read more on:    petra kvitova  |  tennis

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