In Sports News this Monday: Veselý and Berdych to square off in Wimbledon fourth round; meanwhile, Lucie Šafářová is last Czech remaining in the women’s singles competition; Pavel Vrba quits as head of Czech football team after a poor Euro 2016 showing; and cyclist Jaroslav Kulhavý scores second place at the elite Mountain Bike World Championships
Tomáš Berdych through to Wimbledon fourth round
Tomáš Berdych, photo: ČTK
Bad weather last week led to a rare special Sunday of mid-tournament tennis at the Wimbledon championships. Number 10 seed Tomáš Berdych battled young German player Alexander Zverev in a third round match, played on Centre Court. Berdych dropped the third set before coming out fighting in the decisive fourth set – the final result 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 6-1. In last year’s Wimbledon, Berdych was knocked out in the fourth round by Frenchman Gilles Simon in a straight sets defeat. Now Berdych faces another fourth round battle, this time against fellow Czech, the 64th ranked Jiří Veselý. Veselý and Berdych are the last two Czechs remaining in the men’s singles. In a television interview after the match, Berdych expressed joy at being able to play in Centre Court on such a rare occasion: “I’m one of those guys who loves tradition. I think that this is just the fourth time in the long history of the championship that we are playing on a middle Sunday. I get a chance to play on Centre Court – so it can’t be better than that.”
Lucie Šafářová is last Czech remaining in women’s singles tournament
Lucie Šafářová, photo: ČTK
Meanwhile, with the surprise exit of Petra Kvitová in the second round, the Czech representation at the Wimbledon women’s singles is down to just one player, with the 28th seed Lucie Šafářová set to face the Kazakhstani Yaroslava Shvedova in a fourth round duel later on Monday. On Saturday Šafářová beat Slovak Jana Čepelová in a dramatic match which saw an extended final set drag on for 22 games. After dropping the first set, Šafářová staged a decisive comeback in the second, and finally, after a match lasting more than two-and-a-half hours, and which was interrupted by rain on several occasions, Šafářová emerged victorious 4:6, 6:1, 12:10.
Vrba out after dire Euro 2016
Pavel Vrba, photo: ČTK
Czech national football coach Pavel Vrba has quit following his side’s poor showing at Euro 2016. The Czech Republic failed to win a single match at the tournament, losing 1-0 to Spain, before drawing 2-2 against Croatia. The team’s fate was sealed during a 2-0 drubbing against Turkey. Vrba took over the reins of the national team in 2014, after the national team failed to quality for the 2014 World Cup under previous manager Michal Bílek. Despite an impressive Euro qualifying campaign, with the Czech Republic topping its group, the team’s performance in France has widely been regarded as dismal. In a surprise move, Vrba has been signed up to manage Russian Premier League team Anzhi Makhachkala, while the hunt continues for a manager to lead the national team. Speaking after the Czech Republic’s final defeat, Vrba acknowledged his team’s weaknesses: “All three matches showed that football is played a little differently abroad than we play it at home. The tempo and player quality is unbelievably high at this level. I think it served as a major wake up call to the many players who will likely go on playing for the national team. And I hope they use those lessons in the future.”
Czech cyclist comes second in home competition
Jaroslav Kulhavý, photo: ČTK
On Sunday, Czech cyclist Jaroslav Kulhavý came in second place in the elite Mountain Bike World Championships held in the Moravian town of Nové Město. With more than 20,000 fans watching the final leg of the men’s race, all eyes were on local favourite Kulhavý as he battled against Switzerland’s Nino Schurter and France’s Julien Absalon. Although taking a lead in the initial laps, Schurter emerged victorious with a final time of 1:28:20. Kulhavý took second place, coming in 17 seconds behind the winner, while Julien Absalon came in 30 seconds behind. Speaking to reporters after the match, the 31-year-old Kulhavý admitted that he had not been able to produce the desired performance, but nonetheless credited fans for pushing him to continue to fight on in a difficult race.