Germany's Petkovic, Czech's Kvitova to return for Fed Cup

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Andrea Petkovic will play for Germany when it faces Australia in the Fed Cup playoffs, replacing injured Wimbledon semifinalist Sabine Lisicki.

Petkovic returns after missing more than three months because of a lower back injury. She will play alongside Angelique Kerber, Julia Goerges and doubles specialist Anna-Lena Groenefeld.

Germany coach Barbara Rittner says she is "surprised how fit Andrea is already."

Rittner decided not to risk playing Lisicki for the April 21-22 match in Stuttgart after the 13th-ranked player was told to take a two-week break to rest her sprained ankle.

Germany must beat Australia to stay in the World Group after losing to Czech Republic in the first round in February.

Another top women's player, Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, will make her return to lead defending champion Czech Republic against Italy in the Fed Cup semifinals.

Illness and injury have limited the third-ranked Kvitova to only three matches on the WTA Tour since she helped the Czechs beat Germany 4-1 in February.

Lucie Safarova, who lost to Serena Williams 6-0, 6-1 in the Family Circle Cup final Sunday, is the second singles player. French Open doubles champions Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka are also on the team.

The best-of-five semifinal series will be played in Ostrava on April 21-22 on an indoor hard court.