Kvitova to open for Czechs vs. Russia in Fed Cup final

The 2011 Fed Cup final will get underway of-five showdown on an indoor hardcourt at Olympic Stadium.

Kvitova-Kirilenko will be followed by the second opening singles rubber between two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova and Czech Lucie Safarova. The veteran Kuznetsova is a solid 21-7 in her career Fed Cup play.

In addition to her first-ever major title at Wimbledon this past summer, the 21-year-old world No. 2 Kvitova is fresh off her season-ending WTA Championships title last week in Istanbul, which also marked her first title at that prestigious tournament.

Russia will play without two-time Grand Slam runner-up and current world No. 7 Vera Zvonareva, who pulled out of the final due to a nagging shoulder injury.

"Zvonareva's absence is a big loss for us," said long-time Russian captain Shamil Tarpischev. "We would have been much stronger with her. But it was clear that in her current form and without her serve, she would have been the weakest one on the team."

"I think they are still strong. It (the final) is still wide open, 50-50," Kvitova said.

On Sunday in Moscow, reverse singles will pit Kvitova against the 19th-ranked former top-five star Kuznetsova and Kirilenko versus Safarova, while a potentially-deciding doubles match has a Russian tandem of Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Elena Vesnina facing a Czech duo of Lucie Hradecka and Kveta Peschke.

The Czechs are captained by Petr Pala.

The Russians and Czechs have split four all-time matchups, three of which came in the days of the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia. In their lone meeting since Russia and the Czech Republic became independent nations, the Russians beat the Czechs 2-1 in Madrid, Spain 10 years ago.

Russia dismantled two-time defending champion Italy 5-0 in the semifinals back in April.

Mighty Russia has won four of the last seven Fed Cup titles, including its last championship back in 2008, while the Czech Republic is seeking its first title. The former Czechoslovakia captured the coveted chalice five times, led by all-time great Martina Navratilova.