23-10-2006

Berdych experiences wrath of Spanish fans but reaches world top 10

Tomas Berdych, photo: CTKTomas Berdych, photo: CTK Czech tennis star Tomas Berdych caused a bit of an upset in the Madrid Masters on Friday, beating world number two Rafael Nadal of Spain in straight sets in the quarter-finals. The 21-year-old from Valasske Mezirici also upset the local fans - he left the court to jeers, after putting his fingers to his lips in a silencing gesture, which did not go down well with the home crowd who had been loudly supporting Nadal.

The Spanish fans didn't forgive Berdych and booed at every opportunity during his semi-final clash with Fernando Gonzalez of Chile, which the Czech lost in two sets. He said the hostility of the crowd during Saturday's match had put him off - but also praised the performance of his opponent.

"I have to say he played really excellently, he did what he needed to do. He played great tennis and there's nothing more to say - he really was excellent."

Berdych has become the Czech men's number one; he is now ranked 10th in the world, his first time in the elite top ten. Fellow Czech Radek Stepanek is now 14th.

Cech could go home this week, says agent

Petr Cech could be released from hospital this week, his agent Pavel Zika told the daily Sport. The Chelsea goalkeeper underwent an emergency operation after fracturing his skull just over a week ago. Since then he has been moved to a hospital in London, nearer to his home and club. Cech is already talking about when he will come back, according to Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho. Mourniho added, however, that that prospect is a long way off.

Mixed start for Czech teams in UEFA Cup group stage

There were mixed results on Thursday for the Czech teams involved in the first games of the UEFA Cup group stage. Sparta Prague entertained Espanyol, failing to exploit home advantage as they went down 2:0. Slovan Liberec did better against another La Liga side, drawing 0:0 with Seville in Spain. Mlada Boleslav, meanwhile, did not play - they'll have to wait till the next match-day on November 2.

23-10-2006