Sports News

Photo: CTK
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In Sports News this Monday: Czech hopes of reaching the 2010 World Cup recede further after a 2:2 draw with Slovakia; striker Jan Koller retires for good after a disappointing game in Bratislava; the unseeded Petra Kvitová takes a big “scalp” at the US Open – world number one Dinara Safina; and the Czech ice hockey squad start an “Olympic” season by winning their first Euro Hockey Tour competition in many years.

Czech World Cup hopes fade after draw in Bratislava

Petr Čech, photo: CTK
The Czech Republic’s hopes of reaching next year’s football World Cup in South Africa faded further on Saturday night, when they were held to a 2:2 draw by Slovakia at a sold-out Tehelné Pole stadium in Bratislava. The Czechs fell behind twice and equalised twice (through Daniel Pudil and Milan Baroš) in a game that they finished strongly. Captain Petr Čech went so far as to say it was the best performance of their qualifying campaign.

“We wouldn’t have needed much more to turn the game around. Maybe if the game had gone on a little longer we could have found the net again. On the other hand, it’s annoying that we played well enough to win but didn’t succeed in doing so.”

Jan Koller (left), photo: CTK
With only nine points compared to 16 for group leaders Slovakia, the Czech Republic will now be aiming to win their three remaining games and hope other results go their way in order to secure second place and a berth in the playoffs. One thing is clear: the country’s record goalscorer Jan Koller won’t be taking part in those ties – after coming out of international retirement, he quit again after Saturday’s game, looking very down indeed.

“I’ve decided that I’m going home tomorrow. I’m going to leave it to the younger guys and finish for good. I feel bad about the game…I’m not up to it anymore.”

The Czech Republic take on San Marino in Uherské Hradiště on Wednesday. Their final two World Cup qualifiers, both also at home, are against Poland on October 10 and Northern Ireland four days later.

Unseeded Kvitová knocks world number one Safina out of US Open

Petra Kvitová, photo: CTK
The Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitová caused a real upset at tennis’s US Open on Saturday, knocking out the world number one Dinara Safina in the third round. Kvitová, who is 19 and unseeded, beat the Russian 6-4 2-6 7-6 to advance to the last 16 at a Grand Slam tournament for only the second time in her career.

“The main thing is that it happened at a Grand Slam tournament, because everyone’s psyched up and all the seeds play their best. I’m not saying if I beat her at some other tournament it would be no big deal, of course it would be. It’s definitely a great scalp.”

Petra Kvitová’s next opponent at Flushing Meadow is Belgium’s Yanina Wickmayer. The best of the Czech men, Radek Štěpánek, has reached the fourth round of the US Open for the first time ever, after beating Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany. He now takes on the Serb Novak Djokovic for a place in the quarter-finals.

Czechs win first Euro Hockey Tour competition in nearly seven years

Czech Republic - Russia, photo: CTK
The Czech Republic’s ice hockey squad have gotten off to a very bright start in what is an “Olympic” season, winning the Czech Hockey Games after a 3:2 extra time win over Russia in Karlovy Vary on Sunday night. It had been close to seven years since the Czechs won any of the four competitions in the Euro Hockey Tour.