Lucie Safarova has withdrawn from the Fed Cup semifinals because of a thigh injury. Replacing her on the Czech Republic team is Lucie Hradecka, who will join teammates Petra Kvitova, Barbora Zahlavova Strycova and Iveta Benesova. The Czech Republic plays Belgium, represented by Yanina Wickmayer, Kirsten Flipkens, An-Sophie Mestach, and Alison Van Uytvanck. The semifinal will be played on an indoor hard court in Charteroi, Belgium.
Russia plays Italy on an indoor hard court in Moscow in the other semifinal. The withdrawal of both Flavia Pennetta (aka Queen of Fed Cup) and Francesca Schiavone makes Russia a clear favorite. Italy's championship doubles teamm Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci, will have to rely on Alberta Brianti and Maria-Elena Camerin to help subdue a strong Russian team comprised of Vera Zvonareva, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, and Ekaterina Makarova.
Jelena Jankovic says it's a nice feeling to play on a team, and to play for her country. The Serbian team will play the Slovak Republic this weekend in the Fed Cup World Group play-offs. Joining Jankovic will be Ana Ivanovic, Bojana Jovanovski, and Aleksandra Krunic. The opposing team will be comprised of Dominika Cibulkova, Daniela Hantuchova, Magdelena Rybarikova, and Jana Cepelova. The matches will take place on an indoor clay court in Bratislava.
Other World Group play-offs include:
Germany vs. USA
Spain vs. France
Australia vs. Ukraine
World Group II play-offs:
Belarus vs. Estonia
Japan vs. Argentina
Slovenia vs. Canada
Switzerland vs. Sweden
Fed Cup play takes place April 16-18. Italy is the defending champion.