|Posted on April 5, 2012 at 3:55 PM|
Tomas Berdych smiles during the draw ceremony for the quarter final Davis Cup tennis matches between Serbia and Czech Republic at the Old Town City Hall on April 5, 2012 in Prague.
Draws set for Davis Cup quarters
Thursday, April 5, 2012
PRAGUE -- Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic will play Viktor Troicki of Serbia in the opening singles match of the Davis Cup quarterfinals.
The Serbian team will play without top-ranked Novak Djokovic.
Radek Stepanek will face Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia in the second singles match Friday on the indoor clay court at O2 Arena.
Czech pair Frantisek Cermak and Lukas Rosol have been selected to play Ilija Bozoljac and Nenad Zimonjic in Saturday's doubles, but captain Jaroslav Navratil is expected to bring in Berdych and Stepanek. Changes are also possible for the Serbian pair.
The winner of the best-of-five series will face Argentina or Croatia in September's semifinals.
Draw ceremony in Prague on Thursday, April 5, 2012
Berdych and Stepanek out for revengeTomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek are bidding to avenge Czech Republic's defeat at the hands of Serbia two years ago when the teams meet in Prague this weekend
PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC: The hosts are out for revenge against Serbia in this Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group quarterfinal at the O2 Arena in Prague, but it would be a mistake to believe that a Czech Republic win is a mere formality.
Serbia dashed Czech hopes of reaching consecutive finals when they came back from 2-1 down in a semifinal tie in Belgrade two years ago en route to their first Davis Cup title.
And now the Czechs, led by the same duo of Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek, are keen to capitalise on the absence of the world No. 1 Novak Djokovic and book a place in the last four, where they will meet either Argentina or Croatia.
The world No. 1 is here in Prague in spirit if not in person. That burning desire to reach the top that galvanised his fellow countrymen is still evident among the Serbian players who would happily bust a gut to get their country to the latter stages of the competition and then step aside to allow the great man to return. How many other country’s players would willing do that? It says much about the Serbian team’s sense of unity.
The question is, will Serbia still be alive and kicking in this competition when Djokovic is willing and able to compete? The odds are slightly against it. This is arguably the closest of the four ties and one of those few occasions when the choice of surface could prove immaterial.
In fact, neither Tipsarevic nor Obradovic believes it gives the Czechs an advantage. “My players were actually born on the clay courts,” said Serbia’s captain. “We’ve practised for four days and before that Janko and Viktor [Troicki] had two days on clay in Serbia so we’ve had the same court time as the Czech team.”
Tipsarevic puts his rise to No. 8 in the rankings down to becoming more focussed away from the court. “I think the biggest change [in my game] is determination and the fact that I’m paying more attention to details outside of a tennis court,” he said. “I was always a hard worker, giving everything I have on the court, but little things away from the court, being professional 110 per cent is what has changed my game.”
Although the tie itself is a hard one to call, the outcome of the opening day’s singles play looks relatively straightforward. So much so that Jaroslav Navratil, the Czech captain, is looking past it to the end of the second day’s play when he fully expects Czech Republic to be holding a 2-1 lead, Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek having put their country back in front, even though he has named Frantisek Cermak and Lukas Rosol to play the doubles.
Navratil’s crystal ball would no doubt reveal that Berdych, the world No. 7, will prove far too strong for Troicki in the opening rubber. By his own admission, the Serbian is not playing as well as he did 18 months ago when Tipsarevic pulled off victory in the fifth and final rubber against Stepanek.
If the Serbians were “born on clay” the Czechs have grown to love it more and more; Berdych reached the semifinals of Roland Garros in 2010 and Stepanek has been a Masters finalist on the rusty-coloured stuff (Hamburg ‘06) which is more than the two Serbians can say.
However, there ought to be too much momentum to Tipsarevic’s game at present for Stepanek to stop him in his tracks in the second of Friday’s rubbers, not to mention a six-year age difference. Stepanek, of course, scoffs at such a disadvantage, having just become a grand slam champion for the first time at the age of 33, in Australia. To him it’s just a number.
He also won the doubles title at the Miami Masters with the same partner - Leander Paes - so he comes to Prague with his crafty “old school” game in good working order and, most importantly, sufficiently rested, according to Tipsarevic.
He will be hoping that he can bring that doubles expertise into play crucially on Saturday. The old Davis Cup warrior doesn’t need to be told what a great opportunity this is for him to add to his silverware. As he said, “with Djokovic in the team they could count on two points no matter what”. But without him?
The full draw is listed below:
Friday, April 6, 2012
R1: Tomas Berdych (CZE) vs Victor Troicki (SRB)
R2: Radek Stepanek (CZE) vs Janko Tipsarevic (SRB)
Saturday, April 7, 2012
Frantisek Cermak / Lukas Rosol (CZE)Radek Stepanek / Tomas Berdych vs Nenad Zimonjic / Ilija Bozoljac (SRB)
Sunday, April 8, 2012
R4: Tomas Berdych (CZE) vs Janko Tipsarevic (SRB)
R5: Radek Stepanek (CZE) vs Victor Troicki (SRB)
Czech Davis Cup team (L-R) Tomas Berdych, Radek Stepanek, captain Jaroslav Navratil, Lukas Rosol and Frantisek Cermak pose for pictures in front of Prague's Town Hall's astronomical clock after the drawing ceremony for the Davis Cup tie quarterfinals between Czech Republic and Serbia on April 5, 2012 in the capital city.
Berdych will open for Czechs against Serbia
April 05, 2012
Prague, Czech Republic – A Davis Cup quarterfinal between the host Czech Republic and Serbia will get underway Friday with a singles rubber between world No. 7 Tomas Berdych and the visitors' Viktor Troicki.
The best-of-five tie will be held on red clay at Prague's O2 Arena.
Berdych-Troicki will be followed on Day 1 by a match between 24th-ranked Radek Stepanek and world No. 8 Serb Janko Tipsarevic.
Saturday's doubles call for a Czech tandem of Frantisek Cermak and Lukas Rosol to battle a Serbian pairing of Ilija Bozoljac and Nenad Zimonjic, while Sunday's reverse singles pit the former Wimbledon runner-up Berdych against Tipsarevic and Stepanek versus Troicki, who won a fifth and deciding rubber against France to lift the Serbs to their first-ever Davis Cup title two years ago.
The Czechs are captained by Jaroslav Navratil, while team Serbia is led by Bogdan Obradovic. The Serbs edged out the Czech Republic 3-2 in a semifinal in Belgrade in 2010.
Serbia is playing without world No. 1 superstar Novak Djokovic, who also skipped an opening-round affair against Sweden back in February.
The winner here will take on the Argentina-Croatia victor in a semifinal in September.
Tomas Berdych poses with Viktor Troicki of Serbia after the draw ceremony for the Davis Cup tie quarterfinals between Czech Republic and Serbia on April 5, 2012 in capital city.