(February 6, 2015) QUEBEC CITY – The official draw for the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group first-round tie between Canada and Czech Republic took place Friday in Quebec City, and the singles matches will feature four newcomers on that stage.
Local hopes will rely on Gabriela Dabrowski, who is a regular doubles player on the team but has yet to play a singles match in Fed Cup, and Françoise Abanda, who just turned 18 and will play her first ever tie. On the first day, they will respectively face Tereza Smitkova and Karolina Pliskova, the highest ranked player of the weekend, as both will also be playing their first ever Fed Cup matches. After the reversed singles on Sunday, Dabrowski should pair with Sharon Fichman, while Lucie Hradecka and Denisa Allertova are on the board for the Czechs in the necessity of a deciding doubles match.
Both teams are missing their top players: the Czechs, who have won three of the past four titles and are the number one team in the Fed Cup ranking, are playing with only one of their five players ranked in the WTA top 50 (Pliskova). Petra Kvitova, Lucie Safarova, Barbora Zahlavova Strycova and Klara Koukalova, regular attendees of numerous ties in the past few years, have all decided not to attend this encounter.
On the Canadian side, the big missing piece is 7th-ranked Eugenie Bouchard. The local star kept the fans on the edge of their seat before announcing her absence only late this week. Bouchard, who played a crucial role in leading Canada to the World Group for the first time by going undefeated against Serbia and Slovakia in 2014, decided to focus on training with her newly announced coach, Sam Sumyk, in preparation of the Antwerp tournament. Her spot on the team was given to Charlotte Robillard-Millette, 16 years old, who is quickly rising up in the junior rankings and has reached the Junior Australian Open quarterfinals just a week ago. Another noticeable absentee on the Canadian squad is veteran Aleksandra Wozniak, the second best-ranked player of the country and holder of multiple Canadian Fed Cup records, who is nursing the shoulder injury which has been bothering her for multiple years.
Matches will be played both days at 1pm Eastern Time at PEPS on the campus of Laval University, location of the National Bank Cup (formerly known as the Bell Challenge), an International tournament played in September. The winning team will face the winners of the Italy-France tie in April in the World Group semifinals.
|Event||Representing Canada||Representing Czech Republic|
|1st Singles Rubber – Saturday February 7, 1 p.m. ET||Francoise Abanda||Karolina Pliskova|
|2nd Singles Rubber – Saturday February 7||Gabriela Dabrowski||Tereza Smitkova|
|3rd Singles Rubber – Sunday, February 8, 1 p.m. ET||Gabriela Dabrowski||Karolina Pliskova|
|4th Singles Rubber – Sunday, February 8||Francoise Abanda||Tereza Smitkova|
|Doubles Rubber – Sunday, February 8||Gabriela Dabrowski/Sharon Fichman||Denisa Allertova/Lucie Hradecka|
Follow live twitter updates from the Canada- Czech Republic tie on @TennisNewsTPN throughout the week.