PRAGUE — America’s probabilities of retaining the Fed Cup this weekend improved on Friday when two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova was ruled out of the opening singles for the Czech Republic as a result of sickness.
Kvitova was the second top-10 participant misplaced to the Czechs. Karolina Pliskova was ruled out final Saturday by calf and wrist accidents.
The Czechs received the Fed Cup in 5 of the earlier seven years, and Kvitova contributed to every one to sit down fourth amongst girls with essentially the most Fed Cup trophies.
But she fell unwell after the WTA Finals in Singapore and did not prepare this week as a result of a excessive temperature. She nonetheless may get better in time to play the reverse singles on Sunday.
“Chances are still there [for me to play],” Kvitova mentioned after the draw on Friday. “I’m feeling a bit better. We’re going to decide [that] tomorrow.”
Kvitova returned to the crew this 12 months after recovering from accidents she suffered throughout a knife assault at her house in December 2016. She received all 4 of her singles within the Fed Cup.
“It’s unusual; that never happened before,” captain Petr Pala mentioned about shedding his greatest two gamers. “But still I think we’re the favorites. I’m still very confident about my team.”
United States captain Kathy Rinaldi mentioned she additionally believed in her gamers.
“We were preparing for everyone,” she mentioned. “The Czech Republic has a long list of great players to choose from. We’re ready to compete.”
Rinaldi helped the U.S. final 12 months win an 18th Fed Cup, however first since 2000.
For this final, three U.S. gamers will make their Fed Cup debuts. Only Alison Riske has participated earlier than, in three ties.
Sofia Kenin is scheduled to play Barbora Strycova within the opening singles on Saturday on an indoor hardcourt on the O2 Arena.
“I’m really looking forward to the experience,” the 19-year-old Kenin mentioned. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
Riske was drawn to play Katerina Siniakova within the second singles. The two met 3 times earlier than at WTA tournaments, with Siniakova main 2-1.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” Riske mentioned. “We’ve had a great week of practice, and the pressure is on them. It will be a fun day.”
Siniakova mentioned: “I’m expecting a tough match. Every match was tough with her.”
In Sunday’s reverse singles, Kenin will go in opposition to Siniakova, and Riske will meet Strycova.
In doubles, the final match of the final, Riske and Danielle Collins are scheduled to fulfill No. 1-ranked pair Barbora Krejcikova and Siniakova.
The Czechs have by no means crushed the Americans within the Fed Cup as an unbiased nation. Their final victory was in 1985 as Czechoslovakia, which received 5 titles.