|Posted on April 8, 2012 at 5:30 PM|
Tomas Berdych, 2nd right, from Czech Republic celebrates with teammates Radek Stepanek, center, Jaroslav Navratil, left, Lukas Rosol, right, and Frantisek Cermak, 2nd left, after defeating Janko Tipsarevic from Serbia during their quarter final Davis Cup singles tennis match in Prague, Czech Republic, Sunday, April 8, 2012. Berdych won the match 7-6 (6), 7-6 (6), and 7-6 (7) and gave Czech Republic a decisive 3-1 lead.
Czech Republic beat Serbia 4-1 to reach Davis Cup semis
Prague: The Czech Republic beat Serbia 4-1 to reach the Davis Cup semi-finals for a second time in three years after winning both reverse singles on the clay court of Prague's O2 Arena on Sunday.
Tomas Berdych, the world number seven, sealed victory beating eighth-ranked Janko Tipsarevic 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (9/7) in three hours and 45 minutes as Serbia paid a heavy price for the absence of world number one Novak Djokovic.
Lukas Rosol, the world number 82, then stunned 27-ranked Viktor Troicki 7-6 (7/5), 7-5 in an hour and 49 minutes in the dead rubber.
Berdych had to come back in the first two sets and then fought hard in the third to outperform Tipsarevic who took a 5-1 lead in the tie-break.
"It was a narrow escape in all three sets but that's tennis today," Berdych told the public Czech TV.
"You can't expect to win three easy sets against the eighth player of the world. I would definitely find a few things I could have done better but that doesn't matter now. What matters is the third point I've won."
Czech team captain Jaroslav Navratil praised the "high-quality tennis" both players had shown.
"In the end, the decisive factor was Tomas' courage. It's a great success, hats off to the whole team," he said.
The Czechs will travel to Argentina for the semi-finals in September as the South American team beat Croatia 4-1 in their quarter-final.
"Argentina playing at home will be hard to beat. But we're only playing in September, and we'll be looking forward to the game," said Navratil.
On Saturday, Berdych and Radek Stepanek beat Nenad Zimonjic and Ilija Bozoljac 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 (7/4) to give the Czechs a 2-1 lead, clinching their 10th victory of 11 Davis Cup doubles rubbers together.
On Friday, Berdych swept Troicki in straight sets while Stepanek lost a stormy epic five-setter to Tipsarevic that ended in controversy.
After Stepanek and Tipsarevic shook hands, the Serbian number one accused the Czech veteran of aiming an obscene gesture at him and calling him names as they walked off to the sidelines.
Bozoljac retaliated after the doubles on Saturday, refusing to shake Stepanek's hand and claiming he might get the same two-finger "sign of the horns" treatment as Tipsarevic the day before.
With the win, the Czechs have taken a revenge for the 2010 Davis Cup semi-finals, which Serbia won before going on to lift their first ever title.
Czech Republic's team celebrates with fans after defeating Serbia in their quarter final Davis Cup singles tennis match in Prague, Czech Republic, Sunday, April 8, 2012.
Berdych hails hard-fought victory
Tomas Berdych won all three points for the Czech Republic
PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC: Tomas Berdych won all three points for the Czech Republic as they scored a 3-1 victory against Serbia in the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas quarterfinal.
Janko Tipsarevic had opportunities to serve for both of the first two sets but Berdych creditted his mental strengths for his remarkable comeback to take them both in tiebreaks. The mental batttle was resumed in the third set when once again it went the distance only for the result to be repeated as the Czech No.1 triumphed 76(6) 76(6) 76(7).
Tipsarevic admitted after the match that while it was not close as he lost without winning a set he should have been capable of pushing deeper into the match, possibly even taking victory himself.
Czech captain Jaroslav Navratil feels that luck was on their side this weekend and he looks ahead to the semifinal weekend tie against Argentina.
Watch Highlights: Czech Rep 4-1 Serbia
6-8 April, 2012 - PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC: Watch highlights of Czech Republic’s 4-1 victory over Serbia in the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group quarterfinals at Prague’s O2 Arena. The result means Czech Republic will now travel to Argentina in the last four in September.
Czechs line up title challenge
By Clive White
PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC: Argentina away sounds like a rough reward for all Czech Republic’s efforts in beating Serbia 4-1 in their Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group quarterfinal in Prague. Jaroslav Navratil, their captain, naturally prefers to look on the bright side: they could be playing away to Spain!
There is, of course, a lot of tennis to be played between now and their September semifinal – two Grand Slams, an Olympics and five Masters 1000 events just for starters – which translates into a lot of physical punishment for the players in question. It hadn’t escaped Tomas Berdych’s attention that Argentina aren’t always able to bring their strongest hand to the table because of injuries.
“Argentina are a really strong team,” he said. “When Spain are without Rafa [Nadal] and [David] Ferrer, they are the toughest opponent of all to play. But it’s not often that they are able to play their strongest team, so if there’s not going to be [Juan Martin] del Potro or [David] Nalbandian in their team our chances become much better.”
Clutching at straws? Possibly. As Mick Channon, the former England-striker-turned-horse-race-trainer, once said: “Players frequently miss league games, they rarely miss cup finals.” And the same might apply to Davis Cup semifinals, particularly ones of this magnitude.
What Czech Republic did prove once again in Prague was their versatility. According to Serbia’s stand-in No. 1 Janko Tipsarevic, the clay surface gave them no advantage whatsoever. One had the impression they could just as easily have beaten Serbia on a hard court or even a grass court. Argentine clay will hold no fears for them. “Even if we play outdoors our chances are really good,” said Berdych.
It’s unlikely that the Czech captain will dwell overly long on past history when talking to his players about this tie. The Czechs may have won the last time the two countries met, in a quarterfinal in Ostrava three years ago, but they did so only just and Nalbandian was unavailable for that tie. Del Potro and Nalbandian hold a superior head-to-head record in three of the four match-ups with the Czechs’ top two.
Instead it might be better if Navratil concentrates on how favourably the Davis Cup records of Berdych and Radek Stepanek compare with those of del Potro and Nalbandian: the two Czechs have won a combined total of 54 rubbers against their Argentine counterparts’ 45. Of course, a lot of those Czech wins – 10 apiece – came from having Berdych and Stepanek in harness in doubles, whereas the Argentine duo have never played Davis Cup doubles together.
Nevertheless, it says much about the Czechs’ experience in this competition – not to mention their superior team spirit. While it can be safely assumed that the name of Stepanek will have been deleted from Tipsarevic’s future Easter card list after their altercation in the singles on day one, even he had to admit that the Czech doubles team is second only to that of the United States (the Bryan brothers).
Berdych’s mental fortitude impressed many over the weekend, particularly when playing Tipsarevic, against whom he came from behind in all three sets to beat. His willingness to come to the net suggested he could yet improve on his No. 7 ranking, at which he has been stuck – if that’s the right word – for the best part of 14 months. If Bogdan Obradovic, the Serbian captain, is right in his assumption that Tipsarevic will soon break into the Top 5 then certainly Berdych is capable of doing the same.
... and also congratulations to Lukas Rosol who brought the 4th point to the Czech Republic by defeating Viktor Troicki in the dead rubber on Sunday afternoon.
CZECH REPUBLIC def. SERBIA 4-1
Clay, Indoor - Prague, Czech Republic
Berdych (CZE) def. Troicki (SRB) 6-2 6-1 6-2
Tipsarevic (SRB) def. Stepanek (CZE) 5-7 6-4 6-4 4-6 9-7
Berdych (CZE)/Stepanek (CZE) def. Bozoljac (SRB)/Zimonjic (SRB) 6-4 6-2 7-6(4)
Berdych (CZE) def. Tipsarevic (SRB) 7-6(6) 7-6(6) 7-6(7)
Rosol (CZE) def. Troicki (SRB) 7-6(5) 7-5