In Sports News: Sparta Prague top football league; striker Matěj Vydra becomes big money Rams signing; Petra Kvitová faces tough first round duel at US Open; and Jan Kopecký triumphs again at Barum Czech Rally Zlín.
We begin with football, and a brace of goals from Sparta Prague’s midfielder Martin Frýdek confirmed the club at the top of the top Czech league after the weekend’s matches. Frýdek scored twice in the second half against Dukla Prague. Sparta now top the league leading Mladá Boleslav by one point but Zlín can go equal on points it they win Monday’s match against league newcomer Karviná.
Meanwhile, reigning league champions Viktoria Plzeň continued their shaky start to the new season. Plzeň had to come back from a goal down at half time against Slavia Prague but scored three times in the second half to run out 3:1 leaders. Plzeň are now three points off the top of the table.
And we stay with football and the near 400 million crown transfer of Czech international Matěj Vydra to English second division outfit Derby County from Premier League Watford. The deal for the 24-year-old striker was sealed on Saturday. Vydra, who did not play in the recent European championships, will have to wait until later in September to join the Rams since he has been called up for international duty with the Czech Republic. Under new manager Karel Jarolím, the Czech national team faces a friendly against Armenia on Wednesday ahead of a home game against Northern Ireland on Sunday in the first World Cup qualifying game. The new national coach has named two newcomers for the squad for the upcoming games and admits to having more than a few headaches given the inconsistent form of players from Sparta Prague and Viktoria Plzeň.
We turn to tennis and the last Grand Slam tournament of the season, the US Open. In the absence of top men’s player Tomáš Berdych, Czech hopes will likely focus on Olympic bronze medal winner Petra Kvitová. Kvitová overcame a nagging cold last week to reach the se mi-finals of the warm up Newhaven tournament. And she told Czech Radio that in spite of her illness she was still upbeat about her chances at the US Open:
“I am still suffering from the cold and also have a cough, but apparently it did not have much of an impact on my performance at New Haven and I hope that it will not have an impact at this tournament either.”
Kvitová, who is seeded 14th in the singles, begins the tournament with a difficult tie against young Latvian talent Jelena Ostapenko who has already beaten her twice this season.
Finally, Škoda Auto rally driver Jan Kopecký has consolidated his position as a living legend in Czech motor sport. Kopecký won the Barum Czech Rally Zlín for the fifth time and landed his fourth domestic title. Kopecký was neck and neck for most of the race with Russian rival Alexej Lukyanuk until the latter was involved in an accident in a last bid to snatch the lead.
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