In Sports News this Monday: Czech tennis star Tomáš Berdych fails to get past the group stage at his first ATP World Tour Finals, but says he is still happy after his best season to date; Aspen proves third time unlucky for Šárka Záhrobská in the slalom; Olympic speed skating champion Martina Sáblíková is still waiting for her first World Cup win this season; and Milan Baroš returns but ends up on the losing side in an Istanbul derby.
The Czech men’s tennis number one Tomáš Berdych crowned his best season to date by qualifying for the prestigious eight-player ATP World Tour Finals for the first time ever. But the world number six had little to celebrate in London, apart from a win over Andy Roddick which interrupted a poor run of form that began when he reached his first ever Grand Slam final at Wimbledon.
The Czech had lost his opening round robin match at the World Tour Finals to Novak Djokovic of Serbia, while any hope he had of making it through to the next stage was extinguished by Spain’s Rafael Nadal, who beat him 7-6 6-1 on Friday. After that match Berdych said the unflattering score-line didn’t perhaps tell the whole story.
“The score maybe makes things look worse than they really were. The games were well-balanced – the first set definitely was. After the match I’m certainly down about it, it’s annoying. But it was a good season – definitely the best I’ve ever had.”
The Czech Republic’s leading downhill skier Šárka Záhrobská must have come to regard Aspen as a charmed venue, having won the slalom there two times in a row. But Záhrobská’s luck at the US resort seemed to run out this year, when she finished way down in 12th – her first time outside the elite top ten since January 2009.
“I would have been bothered about it even if I’d come eighth or ninth, and inside the top ten. I definitely want to finish a lot better than 12th. I think I would have been unsatisfied even to finish around sixth.”
Speed skater Martina Sáblíková is going through a disappointing spell by her high standards, having not yet come first in any World Cup race this season. In her third meeting of the winter, the double Olympic champion and world record holder finished second in the 5000 metres and eighth in the 1500 metres in Norway’s Hamar at the weekend. Sáblíková, who missed the first meet of the season through illness, will no doubt be hoping to make the most of the free month she now has in front of her to get fully fit, and back to her world beating best.
The second highest scorer in the history of the Czech national football team, Milan Baroš, made his latest return from injury on Sunday. The 29-year-old – who has been suffering from a persistent thigh problem – came on as a second-half substitute for Galatasary in the Istanbul derby against Besitkas. However, Gala were already down 1:0 by that point, and went on to lose 2:1.
While most players in the Czech league are on their winter break, Sparta Prague have two more games to go in the Europa League before Christmas. The first of them is away to Palermo on Thursday, with one point enough to see them through to the knockout stage. By the way, Sparta’s Bony Wilfried currently leads the goals table in the competition, with five.
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