Czech Republic, Feb 9: Radek Stepanek will play Andreas Seppi in the opening singles match when the Czech Republic faces Italy in the first round of the Davis Cup.
Stepanek, who won the doubles title at the Australian Open, is 2-0 against Seppi at ATP tournaments.
Also, No. 7-ranked Tomas Berdych will face Simone Bolelli in the second singles match on an indoor hard court at CEZ Arena. Bolelli, ranked 135th, replaced Potito Starace, who caught a cold and has not trained with the team in Ostrava.
Berdych reached the Australian Open quarterfinals and won his seventh career title on Sunday in the Open Sud de France final in Montpellier. But Bolelli beat him twice of their four previous encounters. Last time, he defeated Berdych 6-4, 6-4, 5-7, 4-6, 6-3 in the first round of the 2009 French Open.
“This time, it will be a different story,” Berdych said. “I play on a home court that suits me well. I'm in form. I think it will end well.”
In Saturday's doubles, Czech pair Frantisek Cermak and Lukas Rosol are set to play Daniele Braccialli and Starace, if he recovers.
Czech Republic captain Jaroslav Navratil is still expected to replace his originally named doubles players by Berdych and Stepanek, who plan to team up for the doubles at the London Olympics. Reverse singles are scheduled for Sunday.
The winner of the best-of-five series will face either Serbia or Sweden in the quarterfinals in April.