In Sports News: Czech tennis players Petra Kvitová and Tomáš Berdych give Czech Republic a 2-1 win over Bulgaria in their opening match-up in the Hopman Cup; Britain’s Andy Murray appoints 51-year-old tennis legend Ivan Lendl as his new full-time coach; ski jumper Roman Koudelka finishes in top 10 at Garmisch-Partenkirchen in the prestigious Four Hills Tournament; star hockey player Jaromír Jágr will, for the first time in his career, play in the NHL’s Winter Classic held outdoors under an open sky; the Czech squad at the World Junior Hockey Championship faces Russia in the quarterfinals.
Hopman Cup: Kvitová, Berdych triumph in opening round
Tennis players Petra Kvitová and Tomáš Berdych have given the Czech Republic a 2-1 win over Bulgaria in their first round match-up in the Hopman Cup. Kvitová, last year’s Wimbledon champion beat opponent Tsvetana Pironkova 6-4,6-2, sweeping her aside in the last five games, while world no. 7 Berdych fought and won a three-setter against Grigor Dimitrov, who clawed back into the match winning a tie-break in the second set; the final score was 6 -4, 6-7, 6-3. Kvitová and Berdych’s strong opening round against Bulgaria was not flawless: the Czech duo lost their mixed-doubles match against Pironkova and Dimitrov by a score of 6:2, 3:6, 9:11 – the match dramatically going down the wire in the final set. The Czechs are the number one seeds in the Hopman Cup and face US players Bethanie Mattek-Sands & Mardy Fish in Group A next.
Britain’s Andy Murray appoints tennis legend Lendl as new coach
In other tennis news, Britain’s Andy Murray has appointed former world no.1 Ivan Lendl as his new full-time coach; the former player who won eight grand slam titles in his career and has been a US citizen since 1992, will begin in his new post immediately. At 51, he made clear he is excited about the new opportunity and said he looked forward to helping Murray “reach his goals”. Murray is no.4 in the world in the ATP standings. A British player has not won a grand slam title since Fred Perry did it at the US Open in 1936.
Koudelka finishes 8th at Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Four Hills Tournament
Czech ski jumper Roman Koudelka finished in the top 10 – in 8th spot – in the second outing in the prestigious Four Hills Tournament, combining World Cup events in Germany and Austria. But he could have done even better: on Sunday at Garmisch-Partenkirchen the skier was in fourth spot after his first jump, but did poorly in his second effort. Austrian Gregor Schlierenzauer won the overall event after also finishing first in the opener at Oberstdorf. In Sunday’s event fellow Czech ski jumper Lukáš Hlava finished 13th and Jakub Janda (who won the tournament in 2005/2006) finished in 16th spot.
Jágr to play in NHL’s Winter Classic for first time in career
Star hockey player Jaromír Jágr will, for the first time in his career, play in the NHL’s Winter Classic – which takes place outdoors. This year’s Winter Classic, largely derived from the Heritage Classic played in Edmonton, Canada in 2003 but using US teams, will pitch Jágr’s Philadelphia Flyers against the New York Rangers. The game is being played at baseball’s Phillies’ stadium on Monday at 3 pm local time; the match was pushed back by two hours due to rain. The last time the Flyers took part in the outdoor classic, two years ago, they lost 2-1 in overtime against the Boston Bruins.
Czechs face Russia in quarterfinals at World Junior Hockey Championship
In other hockey news, the Czech squad at the World Junior Hockey Championship continuing in Calgary, Canada, will play two-time defending champions Russia in the quarterfinals on Monday. Although only one name remains from the previous Russian squad, the team has shown it has a very strong offense; last year the Czechs lost to the Russians in the same tournament by a score of 8:3. In the tournament’s first round this year, the junior team beat Denmark 7:0, lost to Canada 5:0, defeated the USA 5:2 and lost to Finland 4:0.