Safarova opens Fed Cup for defending champion Czechs

OSTRAVA, Czech Republic (AP) Lucie Safarova will face Caroline Garcia in the opening singles match Saturday when the defending champion Czech Republic faces France in the Fed Cup semifinals.

The 13th-ranked Safarova and the 29th-ranked Garcia have never met at WTA tournaments.

Fourth-ranked Petra Kvitova will play the second singles for the hosts against 58th-ranked Kristina Mladenovic on an indoor hard court at CEZ Arena.

After Sunday’s reverse singles, Karolina Pliskova and Barbora Strycova are expected to team up to face Alize Cornet and Pauline Parmentier in doubles.

The winner will face Germany or Russia in the final.

The Czechs have lost all three encounters against France since becoming an independent nation in 1993.