|Posted on July 12, 2009 at 1:42 PM|
Radek Stepanek, Tomas Berdych and members of the Czech Republic's Davis Cup team celebrate a victory over Argentina in their Davis Cup QF tennis match in Ostrava July 12, 2009.
Czech Republic 3 Argentina 2
World No. 21 Radek Stepanek clinched a 3-2 victory for the Czech Republic in its quarter-final clash with 2008 runner-up Argentina after defeating Juan Monaco 7-6(5), 6-3, 6-2 in the deciding rubber in Ostrava Sunday.
The 30-year-old Stepanek was selected in place of Ivo Minar, and justified his captain's decision as he converted six of 10 break point chances and was effective in his play at the net - winning 17 of 24 points in the two-hour and 28-minute match.
Stepanek, who partnered Tomas Berdych to a crucial victory in the doubles on Saturday, improved to a 6-6 record in Davis Cup singles play. He was also responsible for clinching victory for the Czech Republic in its first-round clash with France in March, defeating Gilles Simon for an unassailable 3-1 lead.
Earlier, World No. 5 Juan Martin del Potro had dismissed Berdych 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 to level the tie at 2-2.
A clinical performance from del Potro saw the Tandil native strike 41 winners to just 15 unforced errors and convert four of six break point chances to end Berdych's challenge in two hours and three minutes.
The 20-year-old del Potro, who also accounted for Ivo Minar in straight sets on Friday to level the tie after Berdych had defeated Juan Monaco, improved to a 6-2 record in Davis Cup singles play.
The Czech Republic, who won the Davis Cup in 1980 (d. Italy), is through to its first World Group semi-final since 1996 - when it lost to Sweden 4-1. The Czechs go on to face Croatia.