Lucie Safarova and Petra Kvitova led their nation, the Czech Republic, to a 2-0 lead over Italy in their Federation cup semi final tie.
Safarova was able to get the better of her opponent in the ties first match beating Schiavone two sets to love. However the Italian did put up a fight with the first set being forced to a tie breaker which Safarova was able to win. Kvitova then tightened her Nations grip on the tie by also downing her opponent Sara Errani, two sets to nothing.
The Italian team, which has showed strong form throughout the season, now has an uphill battle in order to stay in the tournament.
The Czech team now only needs one more win to clinch the tie and make an Italian fight back impossible. The players will now swap opponents and play in the reverse singles with a win in either securing the tie for the Czech Republic. If however the Italians do pull off an upset and win both matches then the tie will come down to the doubles match.
While historically teams have used singles players in their doubles teams as well it is unclear whether the sides will use the same players as they have in the singles or whether or not they will opt for fresh legs. The latest tennis betting odds seem to reflect that Italy will be wheeling out its biggest guns, in Schiavone and Petruzzi, in order to try and stay in the tournament.
Italy were Federation Cup champions in 2009 and 2010 but were knocked off the top stop last year by their current opponents the Czech republic.