Aussies set for Fed Cup battle
Sam Stosur and Jarmila Gajdosova will represent Australia in singles in the Fed Cup tie against the Czech Republic following Friday's draw ceremony.
Jarmila Gajdosova will face world No.8 Petra Kvitova in the opening match of Australia’s Fed Cup tie with the Czech Republic.
Gajdosova’s name was drawn on Friday deciding the order of play for this weekend’s World Group tie in the eastern Czech city of Ostrava.
Australia’s top-ranked woman Sam Stosur, world No.9, will play the second match on Saturday against Lucie Safarova.
Reverse singles matches will be played on Sunday.
Fed Cup debutante Ashleigh Barty will pair up with Casey Dellacqua for Sunday’s doubles against world No.3 ranked duo Lucie Hradecka and Andrea Hlavackova.
The headline match for the best-of-five match tie will be Sunday’s clash between Stosur and Kvitova, with both players looking for a return to form after poor starts in 2013.
Captain Alicia Molik will rely on Stosur to extinguish Czech hopes of retaining the Cup for a third successive year.
“I want Sam to focus on winning two singles matches. If she does that, firstly she will be the most satisfied, but we believe she can do that,” Molik said after Friday’s draw.
Stosur has been training in Sydney since her early elimination from the Australian Open and hopes the weekend proves to be a turning point in her form.
“I played a few tournaments in the summer (that) I would have liked to go better, but that’s all in the past now and really now trying to use Fed Cup to build my confidence up again,” Stosur told AAP.
After a first-round loss at Melbourne Park in 2012, Stosur didn’t drop a set during Australia’s February Fed Cup clash with Switzerland, and went on to reach the final of the Qatar Open in Doha.
“I’d love to have the same kind of outcome again this week,” she said.
Left-handed Czech powerhouse Kvitova also fronts up for Fed Cup duty following a form slump.
“It couldn’t be a more perfect … scenario for us to come to (the) Czech Republic and play the Czech team,” Molik said.
“They are all incredibly high achievers and they’ve had a lot of wins … but runs on the board over the last three months maybe isn’t what they’ve expected themselves so it’s the perfect time for us to play them.”
Czech captain Petr Pala said team preparations are going well and he has faith in his top player.
“We are always confident about Petra’s performance in Fed Cup. I think she is going to put up a good performance,” he said.