Moscow: Former world number ones Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic will spearhead Serbia's bid to reach the Fed Cup final for the first time this weekend against an injury-hit Russian side. (Agencies)
Last year's runners-up would have likely been favourites for the all east European semifinal had they been able to field top players Maria Sharapova and Vera Zvonareva, but both are unavailable through injury.
Russian captain Shamil Tarpishchev has instead turned to Maria Kirilenko, who is 21st in the world rankings with backing from Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova and Elena Vesnina.
"We have chosen the best players we have available at the moment," Tarpishchev said. "Unfortunately Maria (Sharapova) and Vera (Zvonareva) are sidelined with injuries and will be unable to help our team."
"Zvonareva wanted to play and she came to Moscow to practice with the team, but we will not take a risk with her health.
Tarpishchev also expressed concern about the condition of the claycourt in Moscow's Megasport arena where the match will be played, saying that some serious mistakes had been made during the surface laying.
Meanwhile, Serbia's captain Dejan Vranes has both his country's best players - Ana Ivanovic (15th in the world) and Jelena Jankovic (18th) - at his disposal.
Bojana Jovanovski, who is 96th in the WTA rankings and Aleksandra Krunic, 195th in the world, were also included in Vranes' squad.
Serbia's captain also complained about the quality of the clay surface at the venue, adding his players were set to obtain the maximum result in Moscow.
"Ivanovic and Jankovic are both world class players and I'm proud to be a captain of this great team," he said. "We have an excellent line-up which is set to shine here and clinch a success."
Jankovic, who will lead the Serbian team, which came back from 2-1 down to overcome Belgium in the opening round, said she was happy to play in the match, which she has called a historical point for her country.
"We made the Fed Cup semifinal for the first time in history," Jankovic said. And this match in Moscow will be a historic moment for us. Hopefully we can make it to the final."
"The Fed Cup is a very special tournament. It's team work, playing for your country ...and to represent your country in the best possible way is my job and a huge responsibility."
The other semifinal will oppose reigning champions the Czech Republic against three-time former winners Italy in Ostrava with Wimbledon champion and world number three Petra Kvitova back to full fitness and leading the home challenge.
Team captain Petr Pala also called up 23rd-ranked Lucie Safarova, and doubles specialists Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka.
The in-form Safarova made it to the finals at Charleston last weekend. Hlavackova and Hradecka have won two WTA tournaments this year after clinching the Roland Garros trophy in 2011.
Kvitova, who has been sidelined with an illness and injury for most of the past two months, said in a statement she was looking forward to the tie in the eastern Czech city as she is "beginning to miss tennis".
The Czechs beat Russia 3-2 in Moscow last November to win their first Fed Cup trophy since the country split with Slovakia in 1993.
Moscow: Former world number ones Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic will spearhead Serbia's bid to reach the Fed Cup final for the first time this weekend against an injury-hit Russian side.