By Vladimir Tax
Yes, it's the sports now. And this weekend in the Czech Republic saw both surprise success and national disappointment. In the world of tennis a new Czech star sees off American Monica Seles in the U.S. Open and the Czech national football team sees their hopes of world cup qualification dashed by minnows - Iceland.
We'll start however on a positive note with the wonderful achievement of the unseeded Czech Daja Bedanova who has advanced to a quarter final match after defeating seventh-seed American Monica Seles 7-5 4-6 6-3. Bedanova, is the only unseeded woman to have reached the last eight. Bedanova was even surprised by her own success: "I came here with nothing to lose. I wanted to win the first round, then maybe the second. Then I thought being in the third round would be great. Now here I am in the quarter-finals," said Bedanova, who will play the top-seed Martina Hingis on Tuesday.
Turning to football now, and the Czech Republic were unexpectedly beaten 3:1 by Iceland in the World Cup Qualifiers on Saturday. National team coach Jozef Chovanec described the team's performance as a disaster, complaining about a total lack of discipline, and expressing the view that prior victories had led the team to underestimate their opponents. Although at first the Czech team appeared to be in control, things went badly wrong after midfielder Jan Koller lost his temper and was sent off in the 39th minute allegedly for spitting in the face of Hreidarsson. Both Koller and Pavel Nedved are suspended for Wednesday's home match against Malta. The Czechs must win their next two games - against Matla and Bulgaria - if they are to have any hope of qualifying for the 2002 World Cup.
Leaving football now and returning to some more good news from Czech sport - Pavel Bednar paddled his way to gold in the marathon at the World Canoeing Championships in Stockton, Britain. His success was long awaited as Bednar was runner-up in the last two world championships and a bronze medal winner as far back as 1992.
And finally, motor racing - Czech Tomas Enge finished 4th in the Formula 3000 Belgian Grand Prix, the second last race of the championship. Enge worked up from the ninth position, passing one competitor with each lap but could not catch third placed Brazilian Mauricio. Another Brazilian Ricardo Sperafico came home in first, Britian's Justin Wilson was second. Wilson has already secured the world title and Enge goes into the final race in second place on equal points with Australian Mark Webber. The battle for 2nd place will take place in Monza on September the 15th.