Sports News

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In Sports News: the draw has been mixed for Czech tennis players at this year's French Open; Jaromir Jagr does not require surgery on his little finger; Milan Baros should become the first Czech to play in the final of football's Champions League this Wednesday; in the Czech league the battle for second place - and the Champions League qualifiers - looks set to go down to the last round; and Kenyan runners dominate the 11th Prague Marathon.

Mixed draw for Czech tennis players at French Open

Jiri Novak, photo: CTK
The draw has been mixed for the Czech players at the French Open, which got underway on Monday. Barbora Strycova has perhaps drawn the toughest opponent in last year's finalist Elena Dementieva of Russia, while 16-year-old Czech women's number one Nicole Vaidisova - ranked 35th in the world - will face Czech qualifier Lucie Safarova in the first round. Jiri Novak, meanwhile, says he could have faced a tougher opponent than Bjorn Phau of Germany.

"I have to say the draw is quite favourable. The main thing is I haven't drawn a clay court specialist in the first round. But I have to say every game, every opponent is very tough in this tournament. It'll be hard, but like I say the draw has been quite kind to me."

Jiri Novak was Czech men's number one for some time, but this year he has been overtaken by Radek Stepanek, who is currently ranked 17th in the world. The Karvina-born player, who is 27, faces Thailand's Paradorn Srichapan in the first round at Roland Garros. And he will have a very famous fan - Czech ice hockey star Jaromir Jagr is in Paris and says he will be cheering Stepanek on.

No surgery for Jagr, Ruzicka may helm Czechs for big competitions in 2006

Jaromir Jagr, photo: CTK
Jagr received some good news at the weekend when x-rays confirmed he would not need an operation on a little finger he broke at the recent hockey World Championships, which were won by the Czech Republic. And there was more good news for Czech fans, when coach Vladimir Ruzicka - who had planned to resign - said he could imagine helming the team for the Winter Olympics and the World Championships next year.

Baros hoping to start Champions League final, possibly his last game for Liverpool

Milan Baros should become the first Czech ever to play in the final of football's Champions League, when his Liverpool play AC Milan in Istanbul this Wednesday. However, the 24-year-old from north Moravia may not start the game, having only scored two goals since December. And it could well be the striker's last appearance for Liverpool, where he is reportedly out of favour with the manager. Fellow Czech Vladimir Smicer is definitely leaving Liverpool, after six years. The 32-year-old midfielder has not been a first team regular in recent seasons.

Nedved wins fourth Italian league title, Koller staying at Dortmund one more year

Jan Nedved, photo: CTK
Former Czech international captain Pavel Nedved has won his fourth Italian league title with Juventus. Nedved, who has been dogged by injury this season, is expected to decide in the summer whether to return to the national team, ahead of next year's World Cup. And Czech striker Jan Koller says he will see out the remaining year of his contract at Borussia Dortmund.

Race for second place in Czech league going down to wire

With two rounds left in the Czech league, the battle for second place - and a Champions League qualifier - looks set to go down to the wire. Slavia Prague, Teplice and Olomouc are all in contention, and Liberec too may be in with a shout, if they succeed in having an eight-point penalty for corruption overturned by the Czech football association.

Prague Marathon dominated by Kenyan runners

Photo: CTK
The 11th Prague Marathon on Sunday was dominated by runners from Kenya: the men's race was won by Steven Matebo Cheptot in a time of 2 hours, 10 minutes and 42 seconds, while the women's category was won by his compatriot Salina Jebet Kosgei who finished in a time of 2 hours, 28 minutes and 48 seconds. A record 5,000 runners took part in the race.