In Sports News this Monday: the Czech Republic’s ice hockey players come second in Sweden’s LG Hockey Games – decent performances by less well players will please coach Vladimír Růžička, after 25 NHL players declare themselves unavailable for the imminent World Championship; with Baník Ostrava and Sparta Prague playing out a 1:1 draw, only two points separate the top four teams in the Czech soccer league with three games to go; Iveta Benešová wins the second WTA title of her career; and pole vaulter Kateřina Baďurová retires at 27.
The Czech tennis player Iveta Benešová has taken the Moroccan Grand Prix after a 6-4 6-2 victory over Simona Halep of Romania in the final. It is the second WTA title of Benešová’s career, and comes six years after her first. She said her final win had represented a “little revenge” on Halep, who beat her three weeks ago in Marbella, Spain. Benešová, who was seeded seventh in Fes, picked up a cheque for USD 37,000.
Lucie Šafářová has been beaten in the quarter-finals of tennis’s Stuttgart Grand Prix after losing 6-7 6-1 1-6 to Russia’s unseeded Anna Lapushchenkova. Her exit on Friday came just a day after the Czech had knocked out world number two Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark. Iveta Benešová, meanwhile, reached the final of the Fes Grand Prix in Morocco, after beating Alize Cornet of France 6-3 4-6 7-5 in the semi-finals.
In Sports News this Monday: the Czech women’s tennis team are trounced by Italy in the Fed Cup semi-finals; Patrik Eliáš and Petr Sýkora pull out of the Czech squad for next month’s ice hockey World Championship, while there are calls to call up Dominik Hašek (45); and reports Tomáš Rosický could return to the Bundesliga are denied.
The Czech Republic’s women’s tennis team has been beaten by Italy in the semi-finals of the Fed Cup. After defeats for Lucie Hradecká and Lucie Šafářová in Rome on Saturday, Flavia Pennetta's 7-6 6-2 win over Petra Kvitová in the third rubber on Sunday afternoon gave the hosts an unassailable 3:0 lead in the best-of-five tie. The Italians have reached the final four times in the last five years.
The Czech Republic’s women’s tennis team is losing 2:0 to Italy in the semi-finals of the Fed Cup. In the first singles rubber in Rome on Saturday Lucie Hradecká was beaten 4-6 5-7 by Flavia Pennetta, despite being 4:1 up in both sets. In the second match Lucie Šafářová lost 0-6 2-6 to Francesca Schiavone. Šafářová is set to face Pennetta in the third singles rubber in the best-of-five tie, which concludes on Sunday.
Top Czech tennis player Tomáš Berdych has crashed out of the Monte Carlo open. Berdych was beaten by Spaniard Fernando Verdasco for a place in the quarter finals of the ATP tournament. He won the first set 7:5 but lost the next two sets 3:6 and 2:6. He had won six out of the previous nine encounters with Verdasco. Berdych is currently ranked the top Czech men’s singles player with a 15th place on the ATP world rankings.
Czech tennis number one Tomáš Berdych won his first clay match of the new season when he beat Spain’s Feliciano Lopez 6:3, 6:1 in the first round at Monte Carlo Masters tournament on Monday. After a slow beginning, which saw him losing 0:2 in the first set, Berdych managed to turn the game around winning five games in a row. He then made very few faults and served seven aces to clinch a victory. In the second round, Tomáš Berdych will face Richard Gasquet from France.
Former World No. 1 in men’s tennis Ivan Lendl played his first match in 15 years on Sunday, an exhibition tournament against former 1980s rival Mats Wilander. The two played just one set at Atlantic City in front of some 7,000 viewers. Lendl lost by a score of 6:3. The player, who gave up the men’s tennis circuit in 1994 due to continuing back problems, is 50 years of age. After the match, Lendl said he had enjoyed playing again, although he also called it frustrating. He said that although he knew exactly where he wanted the ball to go, his accuracy was off. Quipping with opponent Wilander, Lendl said that next time he would "do better".
Czech-born tennis star Martina Navrátilová has revealed that she has breast cancer. A routine scan in February revealed the cancer in its early stages with her prospects of recovering considered excellent. Navrátilová, who took up US citizenship, decided to publicize her problem as a warning to other women to get regular scans. She admitted that she was fortunate in discovering the cancer early after failing to go for check ups for several years. The 53 year old tennis legend won the singles Wimbledon title nine times among the series of grand slam titles she collected during a long career at the top.
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