In Sport News this Monday: the Czech women’s national hockey team reaches the world’s top-tier while the league playoffs continue; in football, Sparta Prague loses grip on lead in the top division; and in tennis, Czech Republic’s Radek Štěpánek and India’s Leander Paes win in Miami.
Czech women’s national hockey team wins second-tier world championships
“It was really a tough tournament but I would say the team’s chemistry worked well, the atmosphere in the dressing room was great and we had a great goalie, hard-working defence and of course very good snipers.”
The Czech women will face the world’s best teams in the elite group of the world championships next year, and manager Martin Loukota hopes they will stay there in the following years, too.
“I can’t say we’ll be playing for medals. The strongest teams in the world will be there and we cannot compare to the US, Canada, Finland or Sweden in regards to the number of players. But we’ll be working hard and we will hopefully remain in the top division.”
Hockey league playoffs: Pardubice, Brno one step from the finals
In the other semifinal series, the season’s dark horse Kometa Brno are also one win away from reaching the finals. But the last step is proving difficult as Kometa fell to Plzeň 3:2 in Brno on Saturday. Another opportunity for Kometa to play for the title in more than four decades comes later on Monday.
In Gambrinus liga, Sparta Prague dethroned as Liberec take over
Sparta put in a lot of effort in the match but proved highly ineffective, failing to convert some good chances against the outsider, as Sparta midfielder Marek Matějovský noted.
“I don’t think I have ever played a match like this. We had so many opportunities and I still can’t believe we did not score. We should have turned the game around after we conceded two goals but we just couldn’t. We are just making it harder for ourselves.”
Meanwhile, Liberec beat Dukla Prague 2:1 on Sunday and moved up to first place, two points ahead of Sparta. Titleholders Viktoria Plzeň in third place trail Liberec by nine points. But they can narrow the gap later on Monday if they beat outsiders Ostrava who are ranked penultimate in the table, just one point ahead of Viktoria Žižkov in last place.
Tennis: Štěpánek and Paes win Miami doubles title
Speaking at the court after the final game, Radek Štěpánek said that given their success, he and his partner might reconsider their plans for this year.
“We started really well, winning a Grand Slam, and we have to look at our schedule. We were thinking of playing only 13 or 14 tournament but we’ve been doing fine so far. Maybe 13 tournaments would be enough but we’ll see.”
Radek Štepánek’s form will be much needed next weekend when the Czechs face Serbia in the quarterfinals of the Davis Cup.