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.
Safarova defeated Francesca Schiavone 7-6 (3), 6-1 before Kvitova used her attacking play to beat Sara Errani 6-4, 6-3.
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 against the winner of the Russia-Serbia series.