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“The choice was purely tactical,” Tarpischev said. “A tie is played in two days, and the second day is always really complicated.”

Kuznetsova has an impressive 21-7 Fed Cup record. She’s 2-1 against Safarova, who has won only five of her 13 matches in the Fed Cup.

In Sunday’s reverse singles, Kvitova is set to play Kuznetsova, then Kirilenko takes on Safarova. In the doubles, Vesnina will partner Pavlyuchenkova against the Czech duo of Lucie Hradecka and Kveta Peschke.

Russia has won the Fed Cup title four times since 2003. The Czechs are five-time winners, but their last final appearance was in 1988 when, as Czechoslovakia, they beat the Soviet Union 2-1.