Errani will open for Italians against champion Czechs

When the best-of-five semifinal between the two-time defending champion Czech Republic and host Italy swings into action on Saturday, French Open runner-up Sara Errani will face Lucie Safarova in the opening singles rubber at Circolo del Tennis Palermo.

Errani-Safarova will be followed by a bout between former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and Italian veteran Roberta Vinci, who's fresh off her WTA title in Katowice, Poland, where she upset none other than Kvitova in the final.

On Sunday in Palermo, the reverse singles will pit the seventh-ranked Errani against the world No. 8 Kvitova and the 12th-ranked Vinci versus the No. 25 Safarova, while the potentially deciding doubles rubber will have an Italian duo of Flavia Pennetta and former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone going up against a Czech tandem of Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka outdoors on red clay.

The Czechs are captained by Petr Pala, while the Italians are guided by Corrado Barazzutti.

The Italians are 4-2 all-time against the Czech Republic, but the Czechs won their last meeting in a semifinal last year in Ostrava after dropping their previous four ties against Italy.

The winner in Palermo will face the Russia-Slovak Republic victor in the World Group final in the first week of November.

The Czechs beat Serbia in last year's final to capture a second straight Fed Cup. The Italians were back-to-back champs in 2009 and 2010 and have won three of the last seven championships.