Sports News

Nicole Vaidisova, photo: CTK

In Sports News: Czech women's tennis number one Nicole Vaidisova wins the third WTA title of her career in Seoul, while men's number one Radek Stepanek is beaten in the final of the Vietnam Open; the Czech football team are under pressure, with several players out or doubtful for their last two World Cup qualifiers; and Stepanka Hilgertova comes fourth in the World Slalom Championships but isn't hanging her kayak up just yet.

Czech tennis number one Vaidisova wins third title of WTA career...

Nicole Vaidisova,  photo: CTK
The Czech women's tennis number one Nicole Vaidisova won the Korea Open in Seoul on Sunday, beating Jelena Jankovic of Serbia and Montenegro 7-5 6-3 to claim the third WTA title of her short career. Vaidisova took advantage of mistakes by her opponent and notched up a number of aces in the second set. She had this to say after her title win.

"We both began nervously, definitely. At the start both of us made a lot of mistakes - double faults and unforced errors. But I think I outplayed her at the decisive moments in the match; there were a few key moments in which I came out on top."

Nicole Vaidisova is just 16 but has already reached 21 in the rankings - many believe she is on her way to becoming a star of world tennis.

...while men's number one Stepanek again fails to triumph in ATP final

Radek Stepanek,  photo: CTK
Meanwhile, the Czech men's number one, Radek Stepanek, wasn't so fortunate at the weekend: he reached the final of the Vietnam Open only to lose 3-6 6-7 to Sweden's Jonas Bjorkman. Stepanek has never won an ATP tournament; in fact, he's the only player in the men's top 40 not to have at least one title to his name.

Czechs under pressure as "sick list" grows head of final World Cup qualifiers

The Czech national football team are under a lot of pressure ahead of two crucial World Cup qualifiers, against the Netherlands in Prague on Saturday and away to Finland next week. Jan Koller is out injured, and the other Czech giant forward Vratislav Lokvenc is also out of action. On top of that several other key players are also looking doubtful, including captain Tomas Galasek, Milan Baros and Vladimir Smicer.

The Czechs need to take as many points as possible from their last two qualifiers if they are to secure second spot in Group 1 and a place in the playoffs, though it is still possible they could qualify automatically, if they finish as one of the best second-placed teams from all groups.

The fact next year's competition is in Germany makes it a once in a lifetime chance for Czech fans to experience the World Cup. The last time the Czechs reached the competition was in 1990.

Liberec lose but remain on top, Hrebik's days at Sparta evidently numbered

Liberec - Jablonec,  photo: CTK
Slovan Liberec have finally dropped some points in the Czech league, losing 1:0 to Jablonec in their local derby on Saturday. Liberec continue to head the table, although Teplice are on equal points, after beating Sparta Prague 2:1 away on Sunday. Sparta's hapless manager Jaroslav Hrebik looks likely to either quit or be sacked this week, after a series of poor results, including a defeat to Swiss minnows Thun in the Champions League last week.

Fourth place for Hilgertova but no sign of retirement any time soon

Stepanka Hilgertova,  photo: CTK
The great Czech kayaker Stepanka Hilgertova finished fourth at the World Slalom Championships in Penrith, Australia at the weekend. The two-time Olympic champion is now 37, but said after the race she had no intention of retiring any time soon.