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Early Cup lead for Czechs

Czech Republic got the defence of their Fed Cup title off to a perfect start against Australia with wins for Lucie Safarova and Petra Kvitova.

In the first rubber, world No 8 Kvitova beat Jarmila Gajdosova 7-6 6-3 in an hour and 35 minutes.

Safarova then upset the odds by defeating world No 9 Sam Stosur 7-6 7-6 in a two-hour-28-minute battle.

Kvitova led the Czechs to Fed Cup wins in 2011 and 2012 and admitted to having nerves as the bid for a hat-trick got under way.

"It wasn't an easy match and she had moments when she played very well, but she also helped me a few times," the 22-year-old said. "I was terribly nervous in the first set."

On Sunday, Kvitova will first face Stosur. If she gives the Czechs a winning 3-0 lead, the tie will go straight to doubles, while if she loses, Safarova will take on Gajdosova.

In the doubles, Czechs Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka, the world numbers three and four in the format, will face Australian Open finalists Casey Dellacqua (21 in doubles) and 16-year-old Ashleigh Barty (46).