Tennis

Kvitova to lead Czechs in Fed Cup

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PRAGUE (AP)

Petra Kvitova, who was forced to withdraw from the WTA Championships due to an illness on Wednesday, was named to lead defending champion Czech Republic in next week's Fed Cup final against Serbia.

Captain Petr Pala named the strongest possible team, the same one that beat Italy 4-1 in the semifinals.

Kvitova, who won Wimbledon and the WTA Championships last season, has not been in such great form this year and was ranked sixth.

On Tuesday, she began her defense of the WTA Championships title in Istanbul with a loss to Agnieszka Radwanska then pulled out on Wednesday due to a viral illness.

Czech team spokesman Karel Tejkal said Kvitova was flying home for treatment and was expected to recover in time for the final.

Lucie Safarova, ranked 17th, was the second singles player, while the doubles pair will be Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka, who reached the U.S. Open and London Olympics finals.

The best-of-five final will be on Nov. 3-4 on an indoor hard-court at Prague's O2 Arena.

The Czechs and Serbia will meet for the first time.

The Czechs beat Russia 3-2 in last year's final in Moscow for their first title since the country split in 1993. The Czechs won five more times as Czechoslovakia.

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