Sports News

Karolína Plíšková, photo: CTK

In Sports News this Monday: Plíšková to rescue as Czechs beat Romania to reach Fed Cup last four; reinforcement Šural signs for Sparta ahead of league resumption; and poor shooting by Vítková leaves Czech biathlon team 10th in Canada.

Czechs reach Fed Cup semis despite two defeats for Kvitová

Petra Kvitová,  photo: CTK
The Czech Republic have reached the semi-finals of tennis’s Fed Cup, making it into the last four of the international team competition for the eighth time in succession with a 3:2 victory over Romania in Cluj.

The defending champions fell behind in the first singles rubber on Sunday when Petra Kvitová, who had also lost the previous day, was beaten by world number three Simona Halep. But – just like in November’s final against Russia in Prague – it was Karolína Plíšková who saved the day.

She first overcame Monica Niculescu in an encounter lasting more than two and a quarter hours to make it 2:2 on matches. The 23-year-old then teamed up with Barbora Strýcová for the doubles decider, seeing off the Romanian pair of Andreea Mitu and Raluca Olaru 6-2 6-3 to send the Czechs through.

Despite her heroics, however, Plíšková insisted the plaudits should be shared.

“I definitely don’t want to be regarded as a heroine. There are a lot of people behind our team so it’s not just my work. Even Petra, who lost, was trying to win a point – that’s the way it goes sometimes. And Barbora and I won the doubles, so it definitely wasn’t down to me alone. You never know how things will go – next time I could lose both singles matches.”

Karolína Plíšková,  photo: CTK
The Czech Republic’s non-playing captain Petr Pála had words of consolation for Kvitová – and praise for the whole team.

“It was close. And I’m happy for the girls that they pulled it off like they did. Possible playoffs would have been very tough but now we can look forward to the semi-finals against Switzerland. We knew this tie would be even but we didn’t know how it would go. Admittedly things didn’t go well for Petra today, but in my view she played excellently. She showed that she’s able to play tennis.”

Kvitová, Plíšková and co. will face a Swiss team likely to include Slovak-born Martina Hingis in mid-April. Switzerland have never won the Fed Cup, while the Czech Republic have lifted the trophy four times in the last five seasons.

Šural looking good for Sparta before start of second half of league season

Josef Šural  (left),  photo: CTK
Czech soccer’s top flight resumes next weekend after its two-month winter break. In a warmup, second-placed Sparta Prague welcomed Slovak side Žilina to their Letná stadium at the weekend. The hosts won 4:2 in a game that saw striker Josef Šural score two goals and set up another. Šural, who has seven international caps, recently joined Sparta from Liberec in the most high-profile domestic signing of the transfer window.

Off-target Vítková leaves Czechs way down field in Canda

The Czech mixed biathlon relay team finished way down in tenth at a World Cup event in Canada’s Canmore on Sunday. The reigning world champions were undone by the poor shooting performance of Veronika Vítková; she missed the target six times out of eight and picked up three penalty loops.