|Posted on April 7, 2012 at 3:00 PM|
Radek Stepanek and Tomas Berdych celebrate after defeating Nenad Zimonjic and Ilija Bozoljac from Serbia during their quarter final Davis Cup doubles tennis match in Prague, Saturday, April 7, 2012. Berdych and Stepanek won the match 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 (4) and gave Czech Republic a 2-1 lead.
DAVIS CUP WORLD GROUP QUARTER-FINALS 2012
Radek's Fast Turnaround Gives Czechs Lead
by ATP Staff | 07.04.2012
A round-up of the two Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group quarter-final ties on Saturday.
CZECH REPUBLIC 2, SERBIA 1
Clay, Indoors - Prague, Czech Republic
Radek Stepanek endured a five-hour, seven-minute defeat to Janko Tipsarevic on the opening day’s play in Prague, but demonstrated the depths of his endurance to return Saturday and partner Tomas Berdych to a crucial victory in the doubles rubber. The Czech duo, defeated Ilija Bozoljac and Nenad Zimonjic 6-4, 6-2, 7-6(4) to give the host nation a 2-1 lead over 2010 champion Serbia.
Berdych and Stepanek have now won five Davis Cup rubbers together in a row. They converted five of 13 break points and hit 42 winners to 27 unforced errors for victory in two hours and 23 minutes. Berdych will have the chance to win the tie for the Czech Republic, and set a semi-final clash with either Croatia or Argentina, when he faces Tipsarevic in the first of the reverse singles rubbers on Sunday.
07 Apr 2012
Czech Republic edge ahead in Prague
DAVIS CUP SITE | By Clive White
Not even a five-hour singles marathon the previous day for Radek Stepanek could diminish the power of the Czech Republic doubles team. There is no stopping the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas veteran and his young sidekick Tomas Berdych once in harness, and they pulled off their 10th victory in 11 rubbers to put the home team firmly in control of this quarterfinal at the O2 Arena in Prague.
Serbia trailed 2-1 to the same opposition in the semifinal two years ago before coming back to win, but on that occasion they had the services of Novak Djokovic, then the would-be world No.1, to call upon. Unless there is another Harry Houdini lurking in their midst it’s difficult to see how Serbia can extricate themselves from this one.
The 6-4 6-2 7-6(4) win by Stepanek and Berdych against the less familiar Serbian pairing of Nenad Zimonjic and Ilija Bozoljac confirmed Czech Republic’s pre-match position as favourites to face either Argentina or Croatia in another semi-final. It certainly set things up beautifully for what could prove to be a decisive fourth rubber on Sunday, a fascinating face-off between the world No.7 Berdych and the world No.8 Tipsarevic.
The Czechs could afford to lose that and still be favourites to win the tie in the final rubber – assuming Stepanek’s 33-year-old legs can carry him that far. With the Serbian Viktor Troicki struggling desperately for his form here, few would bet against the crafty Czech enjoying another lap of honour. Two years ago in Belgrade he beat Troicki very easily and the Serb was playing better then.
Stepanek returned to his country’s capital this week as the proud new owner of both Grand Slam and Masters titles after winning the doubles events in Melbourne and Miami, respectively, on each occasion in tandem with the Indian Leander Paes. To say that it has put a swagger in his step would be over-stating things since he has always had a jaunty step, particularly when he is winning points.
According to his captain, Jaroslav Navratil, he had only four hours sleep after his exciting but contentious match against Tipsarevic the night before – he was still being questioned after today’s doubles about his “handshake” with the Serbian at the end of the match which caused such a furore.
However, he paced himself well alongside Berdych and together they won the first two sets with minimal difficulty. The Serbs had their chances in the second set, but they failed to convert any of four break points while Czech Republic converted both theirs.
At the start of the third set the Serbs began to get their act together and stormed into a 2-0 lead and then, after fending off five break points, a 3-0 lead. But no-one was ever convinced it could be a turning point and the Czechs steadily pegged them back to take the set to a tiebreak, in which they kept the upper hand throughout.
Winning in three sets was just what the Czech team doctor ordered.
Davis Cup Homepage of Saturday, April 7, 2012
Czechs leads Serbia 2-1 in Davis Cup
(also about controversial match of Friday between Tipsarevic and Stepanek)
Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek won their 10th Davis Cup doubles for the Czech Republic to take a 2-1 lead over Serbia on Saturday in a quarterfinal still roiling with accusations of poor conduct.
The Czech pair cruised past Ilija Bozoljac and Nenad Zimonjic 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 (4) on a red clay indoor court at O2 Arena to extend their Davis Cup doubles record to 10-1. They plan to team up for the London Olympics.
Stepanek converted the first match point with a serve winner.
''It was again a great teamwork,'' Stepanek said.
The Czechs need one more point to reach their third semifinals in four years and to avenge a 3-2 loss to Serbia in the 2010 semifinals. Serbia seeks its third consecutive semis.
In Sunday's reverse singles, Berdych faces Janko Tipsarevic in a matchup of two top-10 players.
''I feel good,'' Berdych said. ''I have two successful matches behind me. The most important thing for me is to play my aggressive tennis. I certainly have a chance to succeed.''
Zimonjic commented on Friday's incident after Tipsarevic beat Stepanek in a five-hour five-setter to level the tie. Following their handshake at the net, Tipsarevic had to be pulled away by his captain from a confrontation with Stepanek, who he accused of giving him a middle finger and telling him ''something very bad.''
Zimonjic said on Saturday he was not surprised by the incident.
''I've been on the tour for quite a while and played many times against Stepanek so he did something that you can expect to him. I think he's the least likable guy on the tour, especially on the court,'' he said. ''I was really shocked.''
Stepanek denied again any wrongdoing.
''It's not true that I said what he presents,'' Stepanek said on Saturday. ''We shook hands and I don't want to comment any more at the moment because the most important day (of the tie) is ahead of us. We need to get the third point and that's the only thing we focus on.''
The Czech pair, relying on Berdych's powerful serve and effective returns and Stepanek's volleys, was rarely troubled in the first two sets.
Berdych's backhand volley down the middle broke Zimonjic, the highest-ranked doubles player on court at No. 6, to go 3-2 up in the opening set.
The Serbs broke Stepanek in the eighth game but Zimonjic was broken again in the following game and Berdych served the set out.
In the second set, the Czechs broke Zimonjic with Stepanek's well-placed lob for 2-1 before Bozoljac double-faulted twice to drop his serve to trail 4-1, and Berdych served it out with an ace.
The Serbs managed to respond in the third when Stepanek, the Australian Open doubles champ, netted a volley to drop his serve in the second game and Zimonjic fired an ace to jump to a 3-0 lead after saving six break points. But Bozoljac double-faulted in the fifth game, allowing the Czechs to force a tie break.
''The Czech team was a little bit more consistent today on the court, that's the reason why they won,'' Bozoljac said. ''They played the important points better.''
The winner will face Argentina or Croatia in September's semis.
Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek defeated the Serbian duo
of Nenad Zimonjic and Ilija Bozoliac 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 (7-4)
Czechs take Davis Cup lead over Serbs
Sports Network | 7 April 2012
Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek put the Czech Republic on the verge of a Davis Cup quarterfinal win over Serbia after a doubles victory on Saturday.
Berdych and Stepanek both played singles on Friday and were not originally the scheduled doubles tandem, but captain Jaroslav Navratil decided to slide the duo into action and they responded with a 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 (7-4) triumph over the Serbian team of Nenad Zimonjic and Ilija Bozoljac.
The dominating victory, one in which Berdych and Stepanek captured five straight games during the second set, gave the duo a 10-1 mark in Davis Cup doubles.
Berdych, who ripped through Viktor Troicki in a 6-2, 6-1, 6-2 rout for the first point in Friday's opening singles, will have the first chance to wrap up the best-of-five tie for the Czechs in Sunday's reverse singles. He'll take on Janko Tipsarevic, who squared the series on Friday with a 5-7, 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 9-7 triumph over Stepanek in a match that lasted more than five hours.
Should Tipsarevic win again, the fifth rubber is currently scheduled to feature Stepanek against Troicki.
Serbia, which beat the Czechs in the semifinals two years ago en route to its only Davis Cup crown, is playing this weekend without world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who also skipped the opening-round series against Sweden in February.
Czechs take Davis Cup lead over Serbs