Qualifier Hradecká knocks fifth seed Ivanovic out of Australian Open
Czech player Lucie Hradecká has delivered the first shock this year at tennis’s Australian Open in Melbourne. Hradecká, the world no. 142 and a qualifier for the Grand Slam tournament, sent fifth seed Ana Ivanovic packing in the first round on Monday with a score-line of 1-6 6-3 6-2. Grinning ear to ear, the Prague-born 29-year-old told reporters she could not believe she had beaten the Serb. Hradecká was by no means the only Czech to reach the second round at Melbourne Park, with Karolína Plíšková, Klára Koukalová, Kateřina Siniaková, Tomáš Berdych and Lukáš Rosol all advancing so far. Meanwhile, Jiří Veselý, Lucie Šafářová and Renata Voráčová have already exited the competition.
Plíšková centre of attention in Melbourne after reaching top 20
Of the Czechs currently Down Under, one of the most closely watched is Karolína Plíšková. The strong-serving 22-year-old has just climbed into the world top 20 for the first time after last week reaching the final of the Sydney International, where she lost to compatriot Petra Kvitová. Among those praising the performance of the fast-rising Plíšková has been Andy Murray, who tweeted that she was “fun to watch, aces, winners, great timing” and would be a top notch player if she improved her speed.
Vítková and Šlesingr reach podium at biathlon World Cup event in Germany
The Czech Republic’s success in biathlon continues, with Veronika Vítková and Michal Šlesingr coming third in their respective categories in a World Cup mass start event in Germany’s Ruhpolding on Sunday. Šlesingr’s race went down to the wire in dramatic fashion, with the judges only awarding him third place after a photo finish. Of the other Czech competitors at Ruhpolding, Gabriela Soukalová came in a commendable ninth, while Ondřej Moravec finished twelfth.
Bank achieves best ever World Cup downhill finish on Lauberhorn
In Alpine skiing Ondřej Bank achieved his best ever downhill finish in a World Cup event with ninth place on the legendary Lauberhorn slope at Wengen in Switzerland on Sunday. Previously the 34-year-old’s best downhill placing in the World Cup was 17th, in March 2011.
Loprais comes fourth in Rallye Dakar truck section
The Czech driver Aleš Loprais finished just below the podium in the truck section of this year’s Rallye Dakar, when he came in fourth on Sunday behind a trio of Russians. Loprais – nephew of great Czech driver Karel Loprais – had been targeting a top-three finish before a problem with a rear wheel on Friday cost him almost an hour and left him with too much catching up to do.
Sought after Bakoš moves from Plzeň to Liberec
One of the most keenly watched moves of the domestic soccer transfer window has seen Marek Bakoš leave Viktoria Plzeň for Slovan Liberec. The Slovak striker, who is 31, had been in the sights of Jablonec, Mladá Boleslav and Slovan Bratislava.