Strycova, Muguruza to open Fed Cup tie

Strycova, Muguruza to open Fed Cup tie

February 11, 2017
Garbine Muguruza (L) of Spain and Barbora Strycova of Czech Republic pose after the ITF Fed Cup draw ceremony in Ostrava Friday. — AFP
Garbine Muguruza (L) of Spain and Barbora Strycova of Czech Republic pose after the ITF Fed Cup draw ceremony in Ostrava Friday. — AFP

PRAGUE — Barbora Strycova takes on Garbine Muguruza in Saturday’s opening rubber of the first-round Fed Cup tie as the defending champion hosts Spain.

World No. 17 Strycova will face 7th-ranked Muguruza as the Czechs start their quest for a fourth straight title in the eastern Czech steel hub of Ostrava.

Third-ranked Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic will then play against 70th-ranked Lara Arruabarrena.

Pliskova and Strycova led the Czechs to their third Fed Cup title in a row — and fifth in six years — last November when the team beat France in Strasbourg 3-2.

Spain has won five titles so far, the last one in 1998.

“I think we should succeed if the girls play their standard game,” Czech captain Petr Pala said after the draw.

“Barbora will have to break her opponent’s rhythm in some way, and to change hers so (Muguruza) wouldn’t know what will come next.”

In Sunday’s reverse singles, Pliskova will face Muguruza in a clash of the number-one players and Strycova is then due to take on Arruabarrena.

Czechs Lucie Safarova and Katerina Siniakova were drawn for the doubles rubber against Sara Sorribes Tormo and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez.

The Czechs miss 12th-ranked two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, who is recovering from a hand injury she suffered when fighting a knife-wielding burglar last December.

Spain miss world No. 14 Carla Suarez Navarro over a right shoulder injury.

Federer to face Murray in Scottish charity match

Tennis great Roger Federer is set to play his first match in Scotland after it was announced Thursday he would face local hero Andy Murray in a charity exhibition in Glasgow on Nov. 7.

Federer, an 18-time Grand Slam singles champion, who recently added to his haul with this year’s Australian Open, will be helping raise funds that will be shared equally between UNICEF, the United Nations’ children’s fund and an as yet unnamed local Scottish charity.

“Last year was such a fantastic night and to raise over £300,000 for UNICEF and Young People’s Futures in our first year was amazing,” said world No. 1 Murray, a UK ambassador for UNICEF, in a statement.

Nadal pulls out of Rotterdam Open to rest

Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from next week’s Rotterdam Open after being advised by doctors to rest, he said Thursday.

The Spanish world No. 6, who lost in five sets to old rival Roger Federer in the Australian Open final last month, was left out of Spain’s Davis Cup squad for their World Group first-round tie against Croatia last weekend due to fatigue.

“I am very sorry to announce I won’t be able to play in Rotterdam next week,” Nadal said on Twitter.

“After last year’s absence from some tournaments, I started this season well and made a significant effort during the Australian swing,” he added.

“It’s because of this that my doctors have strongly advised me to take it easy and give enough rest to my body before competing again to avoid further injuries. I fully understand that the Dutch fans will be disappointed.”

A wrist injury cut short Nadal’s season in 2016. — Agencies

February 11, 2017