The Czech Davis Cup team will have to go through a play-off to see if they remain in the World Group after losing their first-round Davis Cup match 4:1 to the United States in Ostrava on Sunday. The crucial rubber in the tie was the fourth match between Andy Roddick and Tomas Berdych. Although Berdych raised the home crowd's hopes by winning the first set, Roddick fought back and the big hitting American eventually prevailed in four sets - 4:6 6:3 6:2 7:6 - to give the US an unassailable 3-1 lead. The United States also won the dead rubber to put a 4-1 gloss on what was a hard-fought contest.
"This match came down to one or two chances. I took my chance to win the first set, but even then it was very close. There was no particular moment which suddenly turned the course of the match around. It was just very evenly matched and he simply took his chances better when they came along."
Staying with tennis and there was also no joy for Lucie Safarova in the final of the Paris Open against Nadia Petrova. The unseeded twenty-year-old, who sensationally beat world number 2 Justin Henin in the semi-final, lost to the Russian fourth seed in three sets - 4:6, 6:1, 6:4. Despite losing, Safarova's run to the final sees her rise to number 26 in the world rankings, her highest-ever placing.
Czech speed skater Martina Sablikova has produced another stunning performance in the 5000 metres at a world championship event in Heerenveen, Holland. Going in to this last race of the four-event competition, the nineteen-year-old skater was struggling with a virus and was well down the rankings. Despite her illness, however, she managed to win the event with a superb time of six minutes forty nine seconds to help her clinch fifth place overall. Sablikova's time was both a Czech and a course record and it was the third-fastest women's 5000 m in history, a fact which clearly delighted the skater given her health problems before the race:
"I was definitely going for fifth place. Then by the time the 5000 m race came along, I said to myself that I'd be happy with eighth place overall. If I were to finish fifth, I thought it would be brilliant. Fourth or third place by that stage was a little bit too much. But I am really happy. The time of six minutes forty nine seconds is really wonderful."
Football now and Tomas Rosicky finally broke his duck in the English premier league. The Czech midfielder scored a late winner with a flying header in Arsenal's 2:1 victory over Wigan on Saturday. It was the first time Rosicky had scored for Arsenal in the league this season, although he has got among the goals in other competitions.
It was certainly a good weekend for Czechs to get among the goals in Europe's top football leagues at the weekend. Marek Jankulovski got the winning goal for Italian club AC Milan in their 2:1 win over Livorno while Michal Pospisil came off the bench to net a late winner for Hearts in their 1:0 win over Inverness in the Scottish Premiership. Czech striker Jan Koller also came off the bench to score for Monaco in their 4:2 loss at Paris St. Germain.
Finally, ice hockey now, and Jaromir Jagr's three assists in the New York
Ranger's 5:2 win over the Capitals in Washington saw him achieve another
career milestone. He has now become only the 12th player in NHL history to
accumulate 1500 career points.
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