The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Canada to host top-ranked Czech Republic in first round of 2015 Fed Cup

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PARIS - Canada's Fed Cup team has drawn a tough opponent for its first appearance in the elite World Group.

The top-ranked Czech Republic will visit Canada for a first-round tie Feb. 7-8, 2015.

"This will be our first World Group tie and the team knows that no matter who the opponent, it will be a very talented team that is one of the best in the world," Canada's Fed Cup captain Sylvain Bruneau said in a release. "This is very true of the Czech Republic as they have solid players and lots of experience winning in this competition."

The official draw was conducted Wednesday at Roland Garros. In other first-round ties, Italy will host France, Germany will entertain Australia and Russia will visit Poland.

The 2014 tournament will be decided in November when the Czechs host Germany in the final.

Canada is currently ranked No. 8 in the world. Canada defeated Serbia 3-1 in the World Group II first round in February and beat Slovakia 3-1 in the World Group playoff in April in Quebec City.

The host venue and playing surface will be announced at a later date.

"We are very happy to be playing at home again as I believe it makes a difference to have the support of your home crowd," Bruneau said. "Even from the last tie against Slovakia, the core players on our team have improved so much. We now have another eight months to take further steps and be ready in February to try and win Fed Cup."

Eugenie Bouchard of Westmount, Que., anchored the Canadian victory over Slovakia with a pair of singles victories. She will play Russia's Maria Sharapova in the French Open semifinals on Thursday.

The Canadian roster was rounded out by Aleksandra Wozniak of Blainville, Que., Toronto's Sharon Fichman and Ottawa's Gabriela Dabrowski. The Czech lineup boasts players like Petra Kvitova and Lucie Safarova.

The Czech Republic has won the Fed Cup seven times, including back-to-back titles in 2011 and 2012. The two countries last met in a World Group qualifying tie in 2002, when the host Czechs defeated Canada 5-0 on clay in Prerov.

Canada has an all-time record of 0-5 against the Czech Republic. The winner of the tie will move on to the Fed Cup semifinals and will keep its place in the eight-country World Group for the following year.

The loser will have to play a World Group playoff to maintain its spot in the elite level for 2016. The semifinals next year are scheduled for April 18-19, and the final for Nov. 14-15.

In World Group II, it's Argentina vs. the United States, Romania vs. Spain, Netherland vs. Slovakia, and Sweden vs. Switzerland.

———

With files from The Associated Press.

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