Cibulkova, Hantuchova anchor Slovaks in Fed Cup

April 19, 2013 at 8:48 AM
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MOSCOW, April 19 (UPI) -- Fed Cup veterans Dominika Cibulkova and Daniela Hantuchova will have the singles assignments for the Slovak Republic a semifinal series against Russia.

The Slovaks travel to Moscow to play Russia in a best-of-five series that will send the winner into November's Fed Cup finals against either the Czech Republic or Italy.

The Czechs (2011-12), Italians (2009-10) and Russians (2007-08) have won the last six Fed Cup titles. Slovakia won in 2002 and, with the Czechs, amassed four cup titles as Czechoslovakia.

The series in Moscow is set for an indoor clay court and both Cibulkova and Hantuchova are experienced on the surface in Fed Cup play. Hantuchova is 29-12 overall in the cup, with a 13-8 record on clay. Cibulkova is 16-8 overall and 8-2 on clay. Russia's singles nominees are a combined 4-5 -- 0-4 on clay -- in Fed Cup competition.

It is likely those experience levels that led Slovak captain Matej Liptak to turn to Hantuchova, who is 75th in the world rankings, for the second and fourth singles matches.

Cibulkova, ranked No. 15, is to meet world No. 19 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in Saturday's first singles match followed by Hantuchova against No. 13 Maria Kirilenko. They switch opponents for Sunday's matches, with Cibulkova taking on Kirilenko before Hantuchova plays Pavlyuchenkova.

Russians Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina are to play Jana Cepelova and Magdalena Rybarikova in doubles, scheduled for the final match of the series.

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