In Sports news today: Czech tennis superstars keep their world rankings ahead of the BNP Paribas Open; FC Viktoria Plzeň’s victory against Sparta sees both it and Liberec eyeing Sparta’s top spot in the Gambrinus Liga; HC Oceláři Třinec have to face PSG Zlín for a fifth time in the ice hockey Extraliga playoffs and Sýkora’s hopes of celebrating in style his 1000th professional match end in disappointment.
Czech tennis player Radek Štěpánek has reached the second round at the Memphis International tennis event. The 33-year old Czech beat the American Bobby Reynolds 6:3 and 6:2. Štěpánek, who ranks 28th in the international ATP list, will be facing the American Ryan Sweeting in the second round. The winner of the event receives an award of 1.15 million US dollars.
In Sports News: Two tough wins by tennis player Petra Kvitová at the weekend advanced the Czech Republic to the semi-final of the Fed Cup; preliminary matches in Spain between Czech top flight football club Sparta Prague and Switzerland’s Bellinzona ended following incident; in the NHL, Plekanec scores, earns an assist to help Montreal Canadiens down the Winnipeg Jets; in the domestic hockey league, Kometa Brno trounce Vítkovice.
Petra Kvitová advanced the Czech women’s team into the semi-final of the Fed Cup with a win over Sabine Lisicki in Stuttgart on Sunday, 6:7, 6:4, 6:1. The victory was the latest in a 27 match winning streak indoors for Kvitová, who is currently ranked world no. 2. It was also the sixth win for the Czechs out of seven matches against Germany. The Czech title-holders now have an unsurpassable 3:0 lead over Germany and will next play Ukraine or Italy in the semi-finals at home on April 21-22.
The Australian Open ended with mixed blessings for the Czech players, the happiest of whom was doubtless Radek Štěpánek. Unseeded Štěpánek and Leander Paes of India won the men’s doubles tournament, defeating the defending champions, the American Bryan twins, 7-6, 6-2. With that, Karviná native Štěpánek leapt forward 68 places in the rankings to world 23rd, two places behind his compatriot František Čermák.
World’s number two Petra Kvitová lost to Russia‘s Maria Sharapova 2:6, 6:3, 4:6 in the semi-finals of the Australian Open on Thursday, and was knocked out of the first Grand Slam event of the season. The Czech player, seeded second in the tournament, was tied with the Russian after two sets; in the third, Kvitová was 40:15 ahead in the seventh game but lost. Her double fault in the tenth game then gave Sharapova two match points the first of which she converted. Kvitová’s loss also for the time ends her hopes of becoming world’s number one; the spot will be contested by Maria Sharapova and Belarus’ Victoria Azarenka in the Australian Open final.
Petra Kvitová beat the Italian Sara Errani 6:4, 6:4 in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open on Wednesday and reached the tournament’ final four. The second-seeded Kvitová played an aggressive game and broke the Italian’s service twice in the first set. In the second, the 21-year-old Czech made a series of unforced errors, giving her opponent a 4:1 lead. But Kvitová came back with a streak of five games in a row, wrapping up the game in less than two hours. In Thursday’s semi-final game, Petra Kvitová will face fourth seed Maria Sharapova from Russia.
Men’s World No. 7 Tomáš Berdych had been having a good season so far – recently wining, for example, the Hopman Cup in Australia with women’s player Petra Kvitová; but on Tuesday he faced an even bigger challenge: trying to get past Spain’s Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open to reach his first-ever semi-final at the Grand Slam tournament.
Petra Kvitová remains in contention for the Australian Open title and world number one ranking after beating Ana Ivanovic to reach the quarter-finals. The Czech second seed, who has a chance of replacing Caroline Wozniacki at the top of the rankings, won 6-2 7-6 (7-2) at Melbourne Park. Kvitová will next play China's Zheng Jie or Sara Errani of Italy.
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