Kvitova leads Czechs in Fed Cup final

World No 5 Petra Kvitova will spearhead defending champions the Czech Republic in the Fed Cup final against Russia in Prague on November 14-15, the Czech team said on Thursday.

On the hardcourt of Prague’s O2 Arena, the Czechs will also rely on ninth-ranked Lucie Safarova, Karolina Pliskova (15) and Barbora Strycova (42).

Kvitova and Safarova have led the Czech Republic to three trophies from the last four Fed Cup editions.

“It wasn’t an easy nomination – it almost never is – but I have decided for this team which gives us the best chances of success against Russia,” team captain Petr Pala told reporters.

“Petra and Lucie were a clear pick, they have won a lot of games. Karolina has had an excellent season,” he added.

Russia have called up world No 3 Maria Sharapova, 24th-ranked Ekaterina Makarova, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (31) and Elena Vesnina (111).

Vesnina and Makarova are in the top ten of the WTA doubles rankings, ranked seventh and ninth, respectively.

The two nations have met five times in the Fed Cup before but three of those meetings were between Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union.

The Czech team lead their head-to-head record with Russia 3-2, including a victory in the most recent encounter in the 2011 final in Moscow.

The Czechs have won the trophy eight times, including five victories as Czechoslovakia which went on to split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993.

Four-time champions Russia, who are trying to bounce back from a disappointing 2014 season, when they lost 4-0 to Australia in their opening round clash, will be playing in their 11th Fed Cup final overall.

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