Grand Slam champions Maria Sharapova and Svetlana Kuznetsova will be featured for Russia against an inexperienced France team in their Fed Cup match in Moscow this weekend.
Sharapova will be making only her second Fed Cup appearance. Former top-ranked player Dinara Safina also will play for Russia on the hard courts at the Olympic indoor stadium.
France will be without Aravane Rezai, who pulled out for personal reasons. In her absence, captain Nicola Escude has chosen Alize Cornet to lead the team.
The draw is Friday. The winner will play either defending champion Italy or Australia in the semifinals on April 16-17.