Slovan pulls off an unexpected victory against Udine
Let’s start things off with football. Slovan Liberec have a realistic chance of getting into the group stage of the Europa League, after a surprise 3:1 victory over Udinese on Thursday in the third qualifying round. The Italian side was unlucky, hitting the post three times but Liberec also played strong on defence. The Czech squad is not taking anything for granted and is preparing diligently for the second-leg match-up. Striker Michael Rabušic:
“We were quite lucky. And we have to just go into the next match with humility. We know what we need to work on and where we need to improve.”
Jablonec did not fare as well on Thursday as their north Bohemian neighbors, losing 2:1 to Spain’s Real Betis Balompié. Both Czech teams will be in action this Thursday. Whoever wins on aggregate will advance to the group stage which begins on September 19th.
Kvitová fails to defend her New Haven title
Top Czech female tennis player Petra Kvitová started off the weekend with an easy win over her fellow Czech Klára Zakopalová at the New Haven Open semifinal. She handled the match swimmingly with the final score 6:1, 6:0, though Kvitová failed to deliver similar results in the final against a rising star from Romania, Simona Halep. The New Haven defending champion struggled to find her footing against Halep and managed two in only four games, losing 6:2, 6:2. The loss in the final did not dampen the 23-year-old’s spirits and she says she is happy with the matches she played in New Haven and is hoping to either match or surpass her US Open best in the next weeks, where she reached the fourth round last year and in 2009. She is this year’s seventh seed.
Only one Czech made it into top ten at Brno Moto Grand Prix
Moving on to motorcycle racing. At the Moto Grand Prix in Brno this weekend, Spaniard Marc Marquez took first place and now has 213 total points in the MotoGP title standing. The best performing Czech was Jakub Kornfeil, who finished eighth, and took the 12th place in the Moto3 standings. The other two Czech hopefuls finished outside of the points. Lukáš Pešek crashed in the third lap, though he did not seem deeply disappointed:
“I think I enjoyed this race more than some others where I finished dead last. At least I had a feeling that I had a shot. It has been getting better and better during training, and the warm-up was quite good. If I start with the same feeling on Friday in England, it may not end up badly.”
Karel Abraham, who finished 19th in the Moto2 on Saturday, will not be joining Pešek in Silvestone next weekend. Abraham suffered through the whole race in Brno with bad shoulder pain, admitting that he could barely hold his bike by the end.
Canoeist Hošková takes second place at the slalom cup in Bratislava
In aquatic sports, canoeist Kateřina Hošková won second place in the final of the Canoe Slalom World Cup in Bratislava, behind the Australian Jessica Fox on Saturday. The world champion rower Miroslava Knapková has made it into the semi-finals of the World Rowing Championship in South Korea. The Olympic gold medalist took second place in her second heat in the 500 meters. Nevertheless, the 32-year-old Knapková seemed somewhat disappointed with her more than five-second lag behind New Zealand’s Emma Twigg.