Petra Kvitova, of the Czech Republic, returns to Ekaterina Makarova, of Russia, during the Miami Open tennis tournament in Key Biscayne, Fla., Saturday, March 26, 2016. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
Alan Diaz
April 06, 2016

PRAGUE (AP) Defending champion Czech Republic will be without its two highest-ranked players - Petra Kvitova and Lucie Safarova - in next week's Fed Cup semifinals at Switzerland.

Kvitova and Safarova were key members of the Czech team that won four Fed Cup titles in five years.

But the No.7-ranked Kvitova has been struggling since she terminated her seven-year partnership with coach David Kotyza in January, and the 15th-ranked Safarova needs more time to return to form following last year's illness.

No.18 Karolina Pliskova, who won both singles matches and the doubles in the 3-2 victory at Romania in the first round, will lead the Czechs for the April 16-17 series on an indoor hard court in Lucerne.

Barbora Strycova, Denisa Allertova and Lucie Hradecka were also included in the team.

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