By Jake Davies
- Belarus vs Switzerland
- USA vs Czech Republic 
FED CUP – The semi-finals might not feature some of the biggest stars of the WTA, but the semi-finals will still be hard fought affairs as we give the top four a look.
Belarus vs Switzerland – H2H: Switzerland lead 2-1
The first of the World Group semi-finals sees an improving Belarus host a talented Switzerland side for a place in the final. A win for Belarus would put them into their first ever Fed Cup final, while Switzerland were runners up in the 1998 Fed Cup Final to Spain and will want to do one better this time around.
Both squads look incredibly different. The home team are obviously without two-time Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka and have opted to go with Aliaksandra Sasnovich and Aryna Sabalenka in the two singles rubbers. They also have the luxury of calling upon former Top 35 player Olga Govortsova and 18-year-old Australian Open Grand Slam juniors winner Vera Lapko if needed.
For Switzerland, Timea Bacsinszky and Viktorija Golubic will represent in the singles matches as a struggling Belinda Bencic watches on on the sidelines. The tie has come around at a bad time for the Swiss with Bencic still looking for some semblance of form, while Bacsinszky has hardly played all season. The former Roland Garros semi-finalist had recently pulled out of Indian Wells with a left wrist injury, so there still remains serious doubts going into this tie.
It will be interesting to see how both teams respond to the electric Fed Cup semi-final pressure. For some of the players they are in unchartered territory, so we will see who will rise to the occasion and who will crumble under the spotlight. Switzerland fell short in the semi-finals to Czech Republic last year and I think they will edge this encounter because of that.
Prediction: Switzerland 3-1
United States of America vs Czech Republic  – H2H: USA lead 9-2
The most successful Fed Cup nation takes on the best Fed Cup team in the last decade. Two heavyweight countries collide but both teams are missing some big star names in this clash. No Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Madison Keys for the USA and the defending champions are without World No.3 Karolina Pliskova and the two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova. So in many ways, it gives the lesser-ranked players a chance to shine on one of tennis’ biggest stages.
Having selected to play on outdoor clay, USA have simply looked at containing the firepower that the Czech players have at their disposal. Players like Krystina Pliskova become less effective on a red clay court, but one player to watch out for is Marketa Vondrousova. She is fresh from a title win in Biel, having won her first title in just her second WTA main draw at 17 years of age and she might be the joker in the pack that keeps this tie in the hands of the Czechs.
Prediction: Czech Republic 3-2
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