Czechs to miss Kvitova, Safarova in Fed Cup semis

Petra Kvitova and Lucie Safarova have chosen to sit out the semifinals but will be ready to play in the final if their team gets there, according to Czech Republic captain Petr Pala.

Petra Kvitova has struggled in form after parting ways with her coach David Kotyza.   -  AP

Reigning champions the Czech Republic will miss out-of-form Petra Kvitova and Lucie Safarova in the Fed Cup semi-final in Switzerland in April, team captain Petr Pala said Thursday.

"We have agreed with Petra Kvitova and Lucie Safarova that I won't reckon with them in the nomination for the Switzerland tie" in Luzern on April 16-17, Pala said on the team's Facebook page. "If, as I firmly believe, we make it to the final, they are both ready to play," he said, adding he would announce the official line-up next week.

World number seven Kvitova, the Wimbledon champion in 2011 and 2014, sacked her coach David Kotyza in January and has been struggling so far this season. Safarova, ranked 15th, has been falling down the rankings after making the top ten late last year as she grapples with the impact of a bacterial infection from last September.

Prolific

Led by Kvitova and Safarova, the Czechs have won four of the last five Fed Cup editions.

They beat Romania 3-2 in the first round in February as world number 14 Karolina Pliskova won both her singles - including a win over 5th-ranked Simona Halep - and added the decisive point in the doubles rubber paired with Barbora Strycova. Pliskova and Strycova are also likely to lead the Czech team in Luzern.

Switzerland is eyeing its first Fed Cup final since 1998 when it relied on Martina Hingis, who is still in the team as the current world number one for doubles.