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Davis Cup 2009 QF: Czechs combine for 2-1 lead

Posted on July 11, 2009 at 10:37 AM

Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek celebrate with their teammates their victory over Argentina's Leonardo Mayer

and Jose Acasuso in their Davis Cup World Group quarter-final doubles match in Ostrava, July 11, 2009.


From official website Davis Cup

Czechs combine for 2-1 lead

The old maxim that two good singles players will always beat two good doubles players was re-emphasised when the Czech Republic, as anticipated, took a 2-1 lead in their Davis Cup by Paribas World Group Quarterfinal against Argentina by winning the doubles rubber.

That rule is doubly true when the two singles players have played as often and as successfully together as Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek, while the opposition - Jose Acasuso and Leonardo Mayer - were an untried pairing. In fact, it was the 22-year-old Mayer's first Davis Cup tie. Little surprise then that the two Czechs maintained their unbeaten record as comfortably as they did - 61 64 63.

Vazquez hoping Czech energy is spent

The Czech team was both surprised and pleased that Tito Vazquez, the Argentine captain, chose not to play his world No. 5 Juan Martin del Potro, preferring instead to save him for the first of Sunday's reverse singles. If the lanky Argentine ends up squaring the match in the first of the singles against Berdych, it may yet prove to be a smart decision.

"The decision was planned in advance so that the Czech Republic would put all their best players in the doubles," said the wily old Vazquez. "We were hoping it would be a long match so we had a better chance tomorrow. Our advantage in the first of the singles tomorrow is that Berdych will have played eight sets in two days while del Potro will have played only three."

"Del Potro has played a lot of matches this year with a lot of responsibility. At the moment I don't think he is ready to have three long days. Definitely I think they [the Czechs] have some curious movement there to do tomorrow, I think they will play Stepanek in the last rubber."

After the way Juan Monaco played in the first rubber, few would discount his chances of winning a fifth decisive one should it come down to that, even against a supposedly superior hardcourt player as Stepanek.

Disputed linecall leaves bitter taste

The good news for the Czech team was that the match was just 10 minutes shy of two hours and Stepanek seemed none the worse for the knee injury he has been carrying the past month or so. The Czech No. 2 was the only player not to drop serve in the doubles.

Argentina was on the back foot from the start with Acasuso and Mayer both dropping their opening serves, but they were ushered out the door with the help of a controversial incident which finally did for them in the third set.

A break up after the Czech Republic had been broken for the first time, Acasuso served what he thought was a clean ace at deuce only for it to be called out. He was outraged and climbed the French umpire Kader Nouni's chair to remonstrate with him, but to no effect.

Moments later the Czechs forced a break point and Acasuso's mood deteriorated still further when Berdych hit an outright winner off a service return to break back. Acasuso threw his racket at his chair in disgust. Two games later Mayer was broken and not long afterwards so too was his racket, the Taraflex surface that the Argentines detest so much given a good thumping by the angry Mayer.  



Radek Stepanek and Tomas Berdych... happy to play together!


Click the Thumbnail for score and stats viewing



Stepanek and Berdych won the match 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 and gave Czech Republic a 2-1 lead

The victory extends Berdych's perfect Davis Cup doubles record to 7-0



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