Fed Cup World Group semifinal action this weekend will see defending champions Italy take on the Czech Republic and Germany and Australia do battle.
The Italy-Czech Republic tilt will take place on indoor hardcourts in Ostrava, Czech Republic, a setting the Czechs' best player will surely relish.
World No.6 Petra Kvitova is 17-3 indoors in her Fed Cup history and 16-4 on hardcourts. Not only that, but she is 6-0 against Italian star Sara Errani, including 2-0 in Fed Cup. Also, Klara Koukalova is 4-1 on hardcourts in Fed Cup play. Furthermore, the Czechs' roster contains World No.26 Lucie Safarova and doubles World No.12 Andrea Hlavackova, who has never lost a Fed Cup doubles match.
Italy is bringing its superstars to Ostrava, namely Top 20 players Roberta Vinci and Errani. Vinci is especially formidable in Fed Cup, compiling a 23-4 record, including 18-0 in doubles and 9-0 in indoor doubles. Also in town will be Top 50 player Karin Knapp and Camila Giorgi, who is fresh off a run to her first WTA final in Katowice.
Italy leads its see-saw series with the Czechs, 5-4. This is the third straight year they have faced off, with the Czechs winning in 2012 en route to their second straight title and seventh overall and the Italians victorious in 2013 en route to their third title in the previous five years and fourth overall.
Meanwhile, on outdoor hardcourts in Brisbane, Australia will look to improve to 9-4 against Germany.
Australia is led by Top 20 player and former Grand Slam champion Samantha Stosur and Top 20 doubles players Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua. Stosur has been at her best outdoors in Fed Cup, compiling a 25-3 record, and Dellacqua is 12-3 in that setting, including 7-0 in doubles.
Germany is led by World No.7 Angelique Kerber and World No.28 Andrea Petkovic, who won the biggest WTA title of her career at her last event in Charleston. It also has doubles World No.13 Anna-Lena Groenefeld.
Australia has seven Fed Cup titles to its credit, but none since 1974 and no appearances in the final since 1993. Germany is a two-time champion, but has not been in a final since its last title in 1992.
The winners of the semifinals will square off in this year's final from November 8-9. There will also be World Group playoffs this weekend featuring Russia against Argentina, the Slovak Republic against Canada, the USA against France and Spain against Poland.