In Sports News this Monday: with one round to go, Viktoria Plzeň clinch the Czech football title, Ústí nad Labem and Brno are relegated and Dukla Prague return among the elite; in tennis, Lucie Šafářová advances to French Open’s second round with more Czechs yet to face their first round opponents; and in cycling, Roman Kreuziger ranks in the top ten in Giro d’Italia.
Viktoria Plzeň clinch historic football title
“I think we won more points. But seriously, we were better this season, we won the key games, we beat Sparta twice, and we also showed a bit more psychological resilience in the important games – we never lost a home game this season. That was the key.”
Viktoria showed great football throughout the season, with Pavel Horváth as one of the key men. The 36-year-old midfield played in the Portuguese, Turkish and Japanese leagues before joining Plzeň. He won the Czech title with Sparta Prague four years ago, but said this season’s crown was the highlight of his career.
Saturday’s penultimate round of the Gambrinus liga also determined Zbrojovka Brno, who lost a crucial game against Příbram, will be relegated. Zbrojovka drops out of the top division after 19 years. They will be accompanied by Ústí nad Labem.
On the other hand, second division winners Dukla Prague, one of the most successful clubs in Czech football history, can mark a grand comeback to the first division. Dukla sank to the lowest echelons of the country’s organized football competitions in the 1990s, and had to be re-formed before it reached the second division. Celebrations began on Friday after Dukla’s 3:1 win over Kladno. Along with Dukla Prague, another Prague club, Viktoria Žižkov, is likely to be promoted to the first division.
Tennis: Lucie Šafářová reaches French Open’s second round, with top Czechs yet to enter play
“I knew what to expect from her; I knew she was going to play a lot of slice shots and try to get me out of my rhythm. But my coach and I had prepared and figured out what I should do. I stuck to it on the court and it worked. In the first round of any Grand Slam, everybody’s nervous and it’s not very pleasant. You badly want to win but the first rounds are uncertain. So I’m glad I did ok.”
Czech number one Tomáš Berdych, seeded sixth at Roland Garros, will face France’s Stephane Robert later on Monday, while ninth seed Petra Kvitová is set to play Greta Arn from Hungary.