Sports News

Lucie Safarova, photo: CTK

In Sports News this week: two Czech women's tennis players will compete in a Grand Slam quarter final for the first time in 22 years; ski jumper Jan Mazoch is still in a serious condition after an horrific fall; Petr Cech makes a return to action after a long lay-off with a head injury, and Slavia come out on top in Prague's ice hockey derby.

Safarova and Vaidisova through to Australian Open quarter-finals

Lucie Safarova,  photo: CTK
It's been a good week for Czech tennis players at the Australian Open in Melbourne. 19-year old Lucie Safarova produced a major upset against defending champion Amelie Mauresmo of France in the fourth round of the tournament on Sunday. The 19-year old Czech who ranks 70th in the world came back from 4-1 down in the first set to beat the French number two seed 6-4, 6-3.

Nicole Vaidisova,  photo: CTK
Safarova's win means that the Czech Republic is bound to have a player competing in the semi-finals of the Grand Slam tournament, as she will now play compatriot and tenth-seed Nicole Vaidisova in the quarter-finals. Vaidisova defeated Russian seventh seed Elena Dementieva in the fourth round and is now the highest-ranked player in her half of the draw. It will be the first all-Czech women's quarter-final in a Grand Slam since Hana Mandlikova beat Helena Sukova on her way to winning the US Open in 1985.

Tomas Berdych crashes out

Unfortunately, Safarova's boyfriend Tomas Berdych crashed out of the men's competition earlier on Monday losing to Russian third seed Nikolay Davydenko. The 21-year-old Berdych started brightly by taking the first set, before eventually being ground down by the more experienced Russian 5-7, 6-4, 6-1, 7-6 to clinch his place in the quarter finals.

Ski jumper Jan Mazoch in serious condition after horrific fall

Ski jumper Jan Mazoch sliding down the hill after he crashed in heavy and changing wind,  photo: CTK
Czech ski jumper Jan Mazoch remains unconscious after crashing at a World Cup event in Zakopane, Poland on Saturday. In difficult wind conditions, Mazoch crashed and appeared to bounce his head off the hill during his second jump. He sustained injuries to his skull and brain. and doctors are now keeping the 21-year-old skier in a medically-induced coma for further tests. Meanwhile, the Czech Republic's Austrian skiing coach Richard Schallert criticised the event organisers and the International Ski Federation for going ahead with the event even though wind had been blowing strongly in all directions.

Petr Cech returns to action

Petr Cech wearing a special protective helmet,  photo: CTK
Football now, and Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech made a return to action following a lengthy lay-off with a head injury when he lined out for Chelsea wearing a special protective helmet against Liverpool in the English Premier League at the weekend. Unfortunately, it wasn't the happiest of comebacks for Cech, as his side lost 2-0 thanks to goals by Dirk Kuyt and Jermaine Pennant. Nevertheless, Cech told journalists after the match that he was delighted to be back playing again despite ending up on the losing side:

"Naturally, it's a great feeling to be back. I'm glad I managed to play the entire match without making any mistakes and that I was able to play quite well. Unfortunately, the only thing that spoils it for me is the result. For the first goal, Kuyt took his chance very well and the second goal was just a wonderful strike, which was very difficult to save."

Petr Cech's international team mate Tomas Rosicky had a better time of it in the Premier League at the weekend. He had a hand in both of Arsenal's goals as they defeated league leaders Manchester United 2-1. In Scotland, Roman Bednar scored the decisive goal after coming on for his club Hearts in their 1-0 win over Falkirk.

Milan Baros moves to Lyon

Milan Baros,  photo: CTK
Staying with football, and Milan Baros's troubled spell at Aston Villa is finally coming to an end. French champions Olympique Lyon signed the Czech international on Monday with Norwegian forward John Carew heading in the other direction. The 25-year old Baros has signed a three-and-a-half year deal and is now available for Lyon's clash with Bordeaux on Wednesday.

Slavia come out on top in ice hockey's big Prague derby

Slavia - Sparta,  photo: CTK
Finally, in ice hockey's Extraliga, Slavia triumphed 4-3 in the big Prague derby against Sparta. Despite this win, however, Slavia are still one point shy of the play-off places. Meanwhile, league leaders Liberec continue to set the pace. They destroyed Litvinov 10-1 and now lead the table with 80 points, four points ahead of second-placed Sparta.