|Posted on July 11, 2010 at 4:58 AM|
Lukas Dlouhy - Jan Hajek... texting good news
Czechs book semifinal spot
Jan Hajek and Lukas Dlouhy defeated Jorge Aguilar and Nicolas Massu 76(3) 63 36 63 to hand Czech Republic an unassailable 3-0 lead over Chile and a place in the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group semifinals for the second straight year.
Hajek and Ivo Minar did the damage on Friday with impressive singles wins, and Hajek then teamed up with doubles specialist Lukas Dlouhy to complete an unlikely victory, given that the team’s top two players, Radek Stepanek and Tomas Berdych, were both unavailable.
The Czechs now await the winner of the quarterfinal tie in Split, where Serbia currently leads Croatia 2-1 heading into the final day’s play.
Strong Czechs smash local hopes
Massu wanted to have a chance to redeem himself after a lackluster performance on Friday. Captain Hans Gildemeister listened to the desires of the former Olympic champion and elected to partner him with Aguilar, who was also anxious to play after being sidelined the day before.
In the Czech camp, doubles specialists Dlouhy and Frantisek Cermak were the chosen picks from the beginning, but Cermak started to feel unwell on Friday and woke up on Saturday with a fever, so captain Jaroslav Navratil decided to join Dlouhy with Hajek.
And the untested couple worked out well, although they had a close scare in the first set. The Chileans led 5-3 before losing three games in a row and the following tiebreak. The second set saw the Czech couple keep piling the pressure, especially on Massu, who appeared erratic and less focused than usual.
The third set was all or nothing for the Chileans, who managed to break twice on Dlouhy’s unreliable serve, winning their first set of the whole tie and keeping the home hopes alive, but Dlouhy and Hajek proved too powerful, securing the tie and a semifinal against either Serbia or Croatia.
Easy win for Czechs
“We never thought this was going to be so easy, but after winning the first two matches, we thought we could make it” Dlouhy said. “It’s good to know that these guys can deliver in case Radek (Stepanek) and Tomas (Berdych) cannot be with us. I do not care who wins between Serbia and Croatia, but I would surely like to play semifinals at home.”
The Chilean mood was low after their worst ever Davis Cup tie result at home. However, Massu put things in perspective. “I am very sad for having lost, because defeats are hard to swallow and wins are a great joy, but I cannot forget that we are among the best eight countries in the world.
“We have been there, among the best first ten or fifteen nations in the world, for the last six or seven years. Not many countries can say so, and our country is small, yet we have done a lot. It’s a shame not everybody understands that.”
Gildemeister said that he would decide later if Massu and Paul Capdeville would be present for the dead rubbers, possibly giving a chance to Aguilar and newcomer Cristobal Saavedra, who would be appearing in his first Davis Cup rubber.
CHILE 0 - CZECH REPUBLIC 3
Czech Republic has reached the World Group semi-finals for the second straight year after Jan Hajek and Lukas Dlouhy beat Chileans Jorge Aguilar and Nicolas Massu 7-6(3), 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 for an unassailable 3-0 lead on the clay of the Enjoy Tennis Center in Coquimbo. It was the first tie between the two nations since 1967.