Italy:Tathiana Garbin of Italy will play Tatiana Golovin for the first time when the defending Fed Cup champions open the semifinals against France on Saturday.
Francesca Schiavone was drawn Friday to face two-time Grand Slam winner Amelie Mauresmo in the second singles match on red clay at the Nova Yardinia outdoor sports complex near the southern city of Taranto.
Schiavone and Mauresmo have met seven times previously, including two Fed Cup ties in 2004 and 2006, with Mauresmo holding the edge with four wins.
After Sunday's reverse singles, the Italian team of Mara Santangelo and Roberta Vinci will play Nathalie Dechy and Severine Bremond in doubles.
France will be looking to exact revenge after being knocked out by Italy in the first round last year.
Marion Bartoli was left off France's team, which was announced before her surprise run to the Wimbledon final.
"We knew she wasn't going to play," Garbin said. "She and her father don't get along with the French federation."
Bartoli has not played for France since 2004.
US take on Russia
The United States and Russia are playing the other semifinal in Stowe, Vermont.
Italy beat Belgium last September for its first Fed Cup title.
"The result will be a product of the group, just like last year," the 31st-ranked Schiavone said. "We all have to do our part. We're a very united team and the surface should help us."
In 2003, Mauresmo led the French team to victory in Moscow, beating Russia and the United States in the same week.
This year, after missing the first-round tie against Japan - due to an appendix removal - Mauresmo is looking forward to returning to team action after her disappointing fourth-round defeat to Nicole Vaidisova at Wimbledon.
"I really want to be part of the adventure, and help the girls reach the final," Mauresmo said. "Fed Cup could be a good way for me to get going. I love the team spirit of it."
Mauresmo's coach, Loic Courteau, is also the team coach. Her physical trainer Xavier Moreau is also part of France's contingent, as is her physician Gilles Daubinet.
"It feels like a family," Mauresmo said. "And when you're surrounded by family members, no wonder you tend to perform at your best."