OSTRAVA, Czech Republic -- The Czech Republic took a 2-0 lead over Italy after Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and Lucie Safarova won the opening singles matches of the Fed Cup semifinal on Saturday.
The 23rd-ranked Safarova converted her first match point when Schiavone netted a backhand to improve her record over her 12th-ranked opponent to 5-3. Third-ranked Kvitova converted her first match point with a drop shot.
Reverse singles and the doubles are Sunday. The Czechs need to win one match to advance to the final Nov. 3-4 against the winner of the Russia-Serbia series.
Russia 1, Serbia 1
Serbia has reached the semifinals of the tournament for the first time. Russia, a four-time champion, has beaten Serbia in all three previous meetings. But the team is without two top players: Maria Sharapova and Vera Zvonareva.
In Sunday's reverse singles, Pavlyuchenkova will face Ivanovic, while Kuznetsova will play Jankovic. In the doubles, the Russian pair of Maria Kirilenko and Elena Vesnina will face Bojana Janovski and Aleksandra Krunic.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.