The tournament in its present form was launched in 1963 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the International Tennis Federation, and is now the world’s largest annual international team competition in women’s sport, with 95 nations taking part this year.
In the 50 years since, the Czechs have been crowned champions seven times, while Germany has won twice before, in 1987 and 1992.
And based on previous meetings, the odds favour another Czech victory: The home team leads Germany 6-1. But this tie has the potential to be very tightly contested indeed. Their 2010 meeting fielded a German team without either Kerber or Sabine Lisicki, but this week’s squad has both. And that means both teams feature three women ranked inside the top 30.
The one-on-one rivalries make for interesting reading too. The left-handers spearheading the attack, Kvitova and Kerber, have split their previous meetings 3-2 in Kvitova’s favour, but four of those matches went to three sets.
And should the two second seeds play one another in the other singles rubbers, Andrea Petkovic leads Lucie Safarova 4-2, but the Czech won their last match in a three-set thriller last year.
Both teams also boast a player who arrives in Prague in great form. Petkovic has just won the WTA Tournament of Champions in Sofia while 22-year-old Karolina Pliskova won her second and third career titles in Seoul and Linz during the last two months.
This tie, then, could go either way—so it really may come down to that little bit of home magic.
Venue: O2 Arena, Prague: Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 November, midday (GMT)
Surface: indoor hard
Two singles rubbers are played on Saturday and the reverse singles and a doubles on Sunday.
Czech Republic: champions 1975, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1988, 2011, 2012
Petra Kvitova: ranked no4
Lucie Safarova: ranked no17
Karolina Pliskova: ranked no24
Lucie Hradecka: ranked (doubles) no22
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