In Sports News this Monday: the Czech Republic beat Chile to reach the semi-finals of tennis’s Davis Cup, but will face a sterner test against Novak Djokovic and his Serbian team-mates in September; Roman Kreuziger can enjoy a rest day in the Tour de France after finishing fourth in the first Alpine stage on Sunday; and the Czech football season begins with a piquant game in Prague’s Vršovice district.
The Czech Republic’s men have reached the semi-finals of tennis’s Davis Cup, after beating Chile in Coquimbo at the weekend. The Czechs were without the injured duo of Tomáš Berdych and Radek Štěpánek, who took them all the way to last season’s final. But “super subs” Ivo Minář, Jan Hájek and Lukáš Dlouhý made light work of the hosts, sealing the best-of-five tie in only three matches. The Czech team will face a rather sterner test when they take on Serbia in Belgrade in September for a place in the final. Jaroslav Navrátil is non-playing captain.
“A high-quality and difficult opponent awaits us, led by world number two Novak Djokovic. It’s only a pity that we won’t be playing Croatia in the semi-finals in Prague. But we have to respect the reality, and hope that our team is complete in the autumn, meaning with Tomáš Berdych and Radek Štěpánek. I think if we are complete, we’ll be in with a chance and will again want to win a place in the final, just as we did last year.”
Cyclist Roman Kreuziger can enjoy a rare rest day at the Tour de France, after finishing a very impressive fourth in the eighth stage on Sunday, the first time riders were faced with the demanding inclines of the Alps. It was the Czech’s best ever placing in the world’s most famous race, and saw him climb to seventh overall. The Liquigas rider, who is 24, said he was satisfied with his performance, more or less.
“The stage went well, of course. The leaders broke away from us at the end, which was a bit disappointing, as I felt good and I was in good form. But I’m completely relaxed. The gap isn’t big, and I think I made up some ground compared to the others…So I’m totally relaxed before our rest day and we’ll see how things go in the next two weeks.”
Hasn’t time flown? It feels like only a few weeks ago that Sparta Prague won the Czech league title, and already the new season is upon us. The first game of 2010-2011 is Bohemians 1905 against Slavia Prague on Friday, and an interesting proposition it is too. The former will be the home side, though the game is being played at Slavia’s Eden stadium: after being forced to leave their traditional home at the nearby Ďolíček, Bohemians are now sharing Eden with their Vršovice neighbours.
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