Kvitova vs. Pavlyuchenkova Opens Fed Cup Final

Posted November 14, 2015

Petra Kvitova will take on Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the opening singles match of the Fed Cup final between the Czech Republic and Russian Federation in Prague on Saturday.

The world number four will leadher country against defending champions Czech Republic this weekend.

This is Maria's first time in a Fed Cup final, and I look for her to play at a high level.

Sharapova has shared more than 10 photos over the last few weeks on the social network, detailing some of her recent travels before arriving in Prague for the Fed Cup final.

Sharapova lines up alongside Ekaterina Makarova, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Elena Vesnina. 'We are going into this final as underdogs.' Sharapova told the press in Prague, 'We expect a stadium full of Czechs - I'm sure there will be a few Russian flags flying around - but there will be more Czechs in the stadium than Russians.

Maria just lost to Kvitova in the WTA Finals semis, and I don't think she'll lose to her twice in a two-week stretch.

25-year-old Petra Kvitová - the two-time Wimbledon champion who now holds the 6th position in the WTA overall rankings and 28-year-old Lucie Šafářová who is in the 9th position of the WTA, they will be joined by No. 13 Karolina Pliskova and No. 41 Barbora Strycova. "It's definitely a very new experience, I've been part of the team on different occasions but never in the final".

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Makarova possesses a fine all-round game without the same attacking intent as the two Czech singles players, but the Russian number two is less prone to making unforced errors in high-pressure situations - a characteristic that may well come into play if the tie is a close one.

'We expect a stadium full of Czechs.

So down to the decider the match would go, but backed by a huge crowd in Sochi, the Russians were able to stem the tide and eventually secured the victory and yet another appearance in the final of the Fed Cup. The Czechs are playing for their ninth Fed Cup championship, including their fourth in the last five years.

With Kvitova and Safarova, the Czechs won their first title as an independent nation, following the 1993 split of Czechoslovakia, in 2011 by beating Russian Federation in Moscow, and retained the trophy in Prague the following year.

'We have a great team. One thing to consider is that Pavlychenkova has a ideal record in the doubles this year, whilst she lost in the semi finals in one of her singles ties.

"I am very excited that they are coming in full power, so that's great, to have wonderful final at home", Kvitova said.