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Kvitova to face Kirilenko in Fed Cup final opener
Vera Zvonareva, who was expected to lead the home side on an indoor hard-court at Olympic Stadium, was forced to pull out because of the shoulder injury that has been troubling her for the last two weeks.
“Zvonareva’s absence is a big loss for us,” Tarpischev said. “We would have been much stronger with her. But it was clear that in her current form and without her serve, she would have been the weakest one on the team.”
“I think they are still strong. It (the final) is still wide open, 50-50,” she said.
Kvitova has had a remarkable season. The Czech started the year ranked outside the top 30 but won Wimbledon for her first Grand Slam title and beat Victoria Azarenka in the WTA Championships final in Istanbul on Sunday to claim her sixth title this year and improve to No. 2 in the rankings.
She has a 9-4 record in the Fed Cup, winning all four singles in two ties this season. She says she was not tired after the long season.
“I will play 100 percent for sure and, actually. I’m not tired,” the 21-year-old Kvitova said.
Kirilenko said she expected Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to be nominated to play in the opening singles, but will be motivated on Saturday.
“When you know that it’s the last tournament in the season you always want to play your best,” Kirilenko said.
“The choice was purely tactical,” Tarpischev said. “A tie is played in two days, and the second day is always really complicated.”
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.
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