Sports News

Photo: CTK
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In Sports News this Monday: the Czechs reach the final of the Davis Cup for the first time since 1980 after a sensational victory over Croatia; Radek Štěpánek says he and his team-mates are happy but not satisfied yet, while Tomáš Berdych expresses gratitude for vocal Czech support in Porec; and Lucie Šafářová loses in the final of the Bell Challenge in Quebec.

Czechs reach Davis Cup final for first time since 1980

Radek Štěpánek, Tomáš Berdych (right), photo: CTK
The Czech tennis team have reached the final of the Davis Cup for the first time in 29 years, after a sensational victory over Croatia at the weekend. The semi-final started dramatically for the Czechs, with Radek Štěpánek winning an epic encounter with Ivo Karlovic: that match, in which the Croat notched up a record 78 aces, lasted an incredible five hours and 59 minutes. The length of the first rubber meant it was after midnight when Tomáš Berdych clinched victory over Marin Cilic to put the Czechs in the driver’s seat in the best-of-five tie. Štěpánek and Berdych faced the same two opponents in the doubles rubber on Saturday, a match the Czechs won 6-1 6-3 6-4 to open up an unassailable lead and reach the final of the Davis Cup for the first time since 1980. Radek Štěpánek had this to say on Saturday evening.

Radek Štěpánek, photo: CTK
“If somebody had said we’d be leading 3:0 after two days, we would never have believed it. But we did believe in our own abilities, which is of course always the most important thing. I think there’s no better feeling than when the match is already decided on the Saturday. We can be proud of how we performed here – but like I say, we’re happy, but we’re not satisfied yet.”

A lot of Czech fans were in the Croatian town of Porec for the semi-final, and Tomáš Berdych said he and his team-mates were grateful for such vocal and enthusiastic support.

Tomáš Berdych, photo: CTK
“It was a huge experience. The fans were absolutely fantastic, it was great that so many came. We have to thank them for that. As in previous games, they were like an extra member of our team. They helped us a lot. We’re glad they were here and that they’ve pushed us all the way to the final.”

The final takes place at the end of the first week of December, with the Czech Republic taking on reigning champions Spain, in Spain. A lot will no doubt depend on whether Rafael Nadal plays; the world number two has suffered from injuries this year and missed the Davis Cup quarter- and semi-finals.

Šafářová loses in final in Quebec

In other tennis news, Lucie Šafářová (who by the way is the girlfriend of Tomáš Berdych) was beaten in Sunday’s final of the Quebec Bell Challenge. The 22-year-old lost 6-4 3-6 5-7 to Melinda Czink of Hungary.