The official draw for the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group play-off between Canada and the Czech Republic was held on Friday to determine the match-ups for this weekend’s action. Canada and the Czech Republic will face off on an indoor red clay court at the Agrofert Arena on April 20 and 21, with the winner advancing to the World Group and the losing nation moving down to the World Group II for 2020.
The Canadian Fed Cup team consisting of Rebecca Marino (Vancouver, BC), Gabriela Dabrowski (Ottawa, ON), Sharon Fichman (Toronto, ON) and Leylah Annie Fernandez (Laval, QC) as well as Canadian Team Captain Heidi El Tabakh will take on the Czech Republic in two singles matches on Saturday and two singles matches followed by a doubles match on Sunday.
Rebecca Marino and Leylah Annie Fernandez were selected by El Tabakh to play in singles, while the Czech team captain Petr Pala nominated Marketa Vondrousova and Karolina Muchova, respectively ranked no. 47 and 106 in the world. In doubles, Gabriela Dabrowski and Sharon Fichman will team up for Canada against the Czech duo of Marie Bouzkova, no. 355 in doubles, and Barbora Krejcikova, the no. 2 doubles player in the world.
“We recognize that we are up against a very tough opponent. They have proven their capabilities year after year, relying on their depth of talented players. It will not be an easy task to take on this Czech team, but I know that our girls are up for the challenge,” stated El Tabakh. “We have been putting in the work all week and our players are eager to get out on the court and give it their best. We are looking forward to the matches this weekend.”
Currently ranked no. 184 in the world, Marino is competing in her fourth Fed Cup tie. This will be her first singles match representing her country since 2011. She holds a record of 3 wins and 3 losses, notching a come from behind victory in the doubles match this past February in the Netherlands. As for Fernandez, this will be her first experience playing on the Canadian Fed Cup team. At just 16 years old, she is ranked no. 376 in the WTA rankings and no. 7 in the ITF junior rankings. In doubles, Dabrowski and Fichman will play together on the Fed Cup team for the first time since the tie against Romania in 2015. Dabrowski is currently ranked no. 15 in the doubles rankings while Fichman sits at the no. 192 position and is in the midst of a comeback to the sport.
Today’s draw produced the following weekend match-ups:
|Event||Representing Canada||Representing Czech Republic|
|1st Singles Rubber – Saturday, April 20 – 7:30 a.m. ET||Rebecca Marino (world no. 184)||Karolina Muchova (world no. 106)|
|2nd Singles Rubber – Saturday, April 20||Leylah Annie Fernandez (world no. 376)||Marketa Vondrousova (world no. 47)|
|3rd Singles Rubber – Sunday, April 21 – 6 a.m. ET||Rebecca Marino (world no. 184)||Marketa Vondrousova (world no. 47)|
|4th Singles Rubber – Sunday, April 21||Leylah Annie Fernandez (world no. 376)||Karolina Muchova (world no. 106)|
|5th Rubber – Doubles – Sunday, April 21||Gabriela Dabrowski (world no. 15 in doubles) / Sharon Fichman (world no. 192 in doubles)||Barbora Krejcikova (world no. 2 in doubles) /|
Marie Bouzkova (world no. 355 in doubles)
The first singles match starts at 1:30 p.m. local time on Saturday, April 20 and will be followed by the second singles rubber. The last two singles confrontations will get underway at 12 p.m. on Sunday, April 21, and will be followed by the doubles match. All the matches are best of three.
The Canadian team is looking to secure a place in the World Group for the first time since 2015. It will be an uphill battle as the team has never defeated the Czech Republic in their six previous encounters. The nation’s best results in Fed Cup have been reaching the semifinals in 1988 and the quarter-finals on three occasions, in 1964, 1967 and 1987.