The Czech tennis player Petra Kvitová unexpectedly reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon on Tuesday, after overcoming Kaia Kanepi of Estonia. The 20-year-old Kvitová – ranked 62nd in the world - had already caused one upset earlier by knocking out fourth seed Caroline Wozniacki. However, in the semi-finals she will face her toughest opponent yet: grass court powerhouse and reigning Wimbledon champion Serena Williams.
In Sports News this Monday: no surprises as goalie Tomáš Vokoun is named Czech ice hockey player of the year; the Czech Derby at Velká Chuchle is won by a 16-year-old teenage jockey, only the second woman ever to triumph in the race; and speed skating star Martina Sáblíková wins a cycling race – can she also enjoy success at the Summer Olympics?
Paul Whitaker likes a challenge, but he is no seasoned endurance swimmer. At least not yet. Last October, the 41-year-old Englishman with a fondness for adrenalin sports set himself a goal, and decided to swim the 175 kilometres from the South Bohemian city of České Budějovice to Prague, almost all the way down the Vltava, and all for a charity challenge. Earlier today I had the pleasure of inviting Mr Whitaker into the studio and talking to him about his big plunge.
In Sports News: the Czech Republic’s athletes qualify for the super league of the European Team Championships, after coming first in the competition’s second tier in Budapest; Jimmy Connors tells Czech Radio that Tomáš Berdych can do “damage” at Wimbledon; and a 17-year-old who has made only one Czech league appearance is reported to be on his way to Chelsea in a EUR 6-million deal.
Football is, quite literally, the buzz these days, and no less so in Prague, where Czechs are following the 2010 World Cup wholeheartedly, despite their team’s absence from the pitches of South Africa. In the week since the tournament began, one Prague locale in particular stands out as “the” place to watch the games; not just for Praguers, but also for the tens of thousands of foreigners who inhabit the Czech capital. In a special feature for today, Christian Falvey reports from Prague’s epicentre of football fandom, Riegrovy sady.
In Sports News this Monday: Czech football league champions Sparta Prague strengthen with the signing of Daniel Zítka and Marek Matějovský, while also persuading wonderboy Václav Kadlec to extend his contract; up-and-coming Czech athlete Petr Frydrych (22) again comes second in the javelin at a Diamond League event; and Roman Kreuziger is second in the Tour de Switzerland.
The Czech Republic’s soccer players failed to qualify for this year’s World Cup, and, like Czech fans, will be watching the football extravaganza on television. But with their own team not there, who will Czechs be supporting in South Africa? Well, Slovakia has finished top of a poll asking just that question: that despite the facts the Slovaks perhaps don’t always cheer for their one-time fellow citizens.
With just days remaining until the World Cup kicks off in South Africa, football fever is beginning to grip fans around the globe. The Czech Republic failed to qualify this year, but many will have fond memories of the 1990 World Cup in Italy, when supporters from Czechoslovakia were finally able to travel freely to a major soccer tournament.
In Sports News this Monday: Tomáš Berdych wins plaudits after reaching his first ever Grand Slam semi-final at the French Open – Czech pundits are hoping he can maintain that fine form at Wimbledon; doubles specialist Lukáš Dlouhý fails to make it two titles in two years in Paris; and ice hockey goaltender Dominik Hašek joins Spartak Moscow at the age of 45.
Czech tennis player Tomáš Berdych, seeded 15th at the French Open, has made it to the tournament’s semi-final. On Tuesday he powered past Russia’s Mikhail Youzhny in straight sets. He will next face Robin Söderling of Sweden – a finalist at Roland Garros last year, also on a roll: on Tuesday he ousted the world No. 1 Roger Federer.