Simona halep, number three in the world, assumes the leadership of the Romania who will face in Ostrava the Czech Republic, current champion of the Federation Cup that this weekend addresses a new edition with the matches of the first round.
The Ostravar Arena indoor court stages the duel between the Czech team, absolute dominator of the competition in the last decade. The team that Petr Pala coaches has won six of the last eight editions of the Federation Cup. Only in 2017, when the United States won, and in 2013, with the victory of Italy, did the Central European team stay on the sidelines of the trophy.
The Czech Republic puts into play the defense of the crown that last year it achieved with authority in Prague against the American team. Petr Pala clings to Karolina Pliskova, fifth player in the world, semifinalist at the last Australian Open and who this year already boasts a title, the one obtained in Brisbane.
Pliskova will assume the leadership of the Czech team due to the withdrawal of Petra Kvitova, finalist of the first Grand Slam of the course, in Melbourne, who fell into the hands of the Japanese Naomi Osaka.
Along with Karolina Pliskova, the Czech team is made up of Katerina Siiakova, Marketa Vondrousova and Barbora Krejcikova.
In front of Romania. Supported by Halep, it has Mihaela Buzarnescu, Irina Camelia Begu, Ana Bogdan and Monica Niculescu to surprise and defeat the Czech Republic for the first time in its history.
France visit Liège to face Belgium in search of the semi-finals. The French team, finalist in 2016, has prevailed over the Belgian team in four of the previous matches they have settled.
The duel will see the debut of the two captains. Johan Van Herck leads the local team led by Elise Mertens, 21 in the world, along with Alison Van Uytyanck and who completes the experience of Kirsten Flipkens with Ysaline Bonaventure for the doubles.
Julien Benneteau is now the captain of France. He has recovered Caroline Garcia, who had been out of the Federation Cup for two years, for the cause. It will be the main asset of the French team, along with Alize Cornet, Pauline Parmentier, Kristine Mladenovic and the newcomer Fiona Ferro.
Germany, no Kerber
Germany is on the sidelines of leading role in the Federation Cup since it was a finalist four years ago. Without Angelique Kerber, sixth in the world, Gens Gerlach’s German team host Belarus at the Volkswagen Halle Braunschweig, which they won in the only time they met.
The Belarusian team, which achieved its ceiling two years ago, when it was runner-up, relies on Aryna Sabalenka, ninth in the world, Aleksandra Sasnovich and the former number one on the Victoria Azarenka circuit.
The quarterfinals of World Group I are completed at the US Cellular Arena in Asheville, where the United States host Australia.
Without Sloane Stephens, fourth in the world, and Serena Williams, eleventh, it will be Madison Keys, seventeenth, who will assume the leadership of the team led by Kathy Rinaldi and completed by Danielle Collins, Sofia Kenin and Nicole Melichar, in the fifteenth duel between the two teams .
Australia, the third country with the most titles (seven) after the United States and the Czech Republic, but without repercussion since playing the final in 1993, has not won the trophy since 1974.
Alicia Molik has Ashleigh Barty, her top ranked player, thirteenth, but not Ajla Tomijanovic. Daria Gavrilova completes the core of the team that features the return of Kimberley Birrell.
In World Group II the race for promotion begins. Spain visits the Kita-Kyushu Sogo Gymnastic Hall to face Japan. The Japanese team does not have the world number one, Australian Open champion, Naomi Osaka. Spain also with Garbiñe Muguruza.
In addition, the Netherlands host Canada and Switzerland, with Belinda Bencic and Stefania Voegele, Italy, champion in 2013, led by Camila Giorgi.
Anastasija Sevastova leads the Latvian side, which will meet Slovakia in Riga in an unprecedented clash.