Mon, Sep 16, 2013 - Page 20 News List

Czechs into Davis Cup final, Canada on brink

AFP, PARIS

Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic, left, celebrates with his teammate Tomas Berdych after they defeated Argentina’s Horacio Zeballos and Carlos Berlocq in their Davis Cup semi-final doubles match in Prague on Saturday.

Photo: Reuters

Defending champions the Czech Republic reached their second successive Davis Cup final on Saturday while Canada eyed a first ever appearance in November’s title match.

Radek Stepanek and Tomas Berdych led the Czechs to a third final in five years after breezing past Argentina’s Carlos Berlocq and Horacio Zeballos in Saturday’s doubles 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.

“It’s pure fantasy, the guys played at a 100 percent again,” Czech captain Jaroslav Navratil said after his side took a 3-0 lead in Prague. “They didn’t give the Argentinians a chance.”

On Friday, Stepanek, who won the US Open doubles title with India’s Leander Paes last weekend, had defeated Juan Monaco 7-6 (7/3), 6-3, 6-2.

Berdych then saw off Leonardo Mayer 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

The Czechs, who won last year’s trophy by beating Spain, will travel to either Canada or Serbia for the final.

Canada silenced 8,000 spectators in Belgrade when Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil defeated Nenad Zimonjic and Ilija Bozoljac 6-7 (6/8), 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (5/7), 10-8 in a four-hour doubles marathon to go 2-1 ahead.

Serbia were in a similar position in their 2010 semi-final against the Czech Republic, but managed to win both singles on the final day.

“The guys did their best. We have to win the match in singles on the third day,” Serbian coach Bogdan Obradovic said.

In Friday’s singles, world No. 1 Djokovic disposed of Pospisil 6-2, 6-0, 6-4, while Milos Raonic, the world No. 11, battled past Janko Tipsarevic 5-7, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 10-8.

Djokovic was due to face Raonic yesterday before 23rd-ranked Tipsarevic took on Pospisil, the world No. 41.

In Madrid, US Open champion Rafael Nadal teamed up with Marc Lopez to give Spain an unassailable 3-0 lead over Ukraine in their World Group play-off.

The Spanish pair beat Denys Molchanov and Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-2, 6-7 (6/8), 6-3, 6-4 in just over three hours to ensure the five-time champions will remain among the world’s top 16 nations next year.

It was Nadal’s third best-of-five set match in just six days and his first doubles clash in Davis Cup in seven years.

In Umag, Great Britain led 2005 champions Croatia 2-1 after Andy Murray and Colin Fleming saw off Ivan Dodig and Mate Pavic 6-3, 6-2, 6-7 (8/6), 6-1.

Switzerland retained their World Group status with their third win in a row against unheralded Ecuador as Stanislas Wawrinka paired up with Michael Lammer to see off Emilio Gomez and Roberto Quiroz 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (7/9), 6-4.

Their victory in Neuchatel made it 3-0 for the Swiss who were playing without Roger Federer.

Australia’s hopes of returning to the World Group suffered a jolt when Poland kept the two nations’ play-off alive in Warsaw.

Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski defeated Chris Guccione and debutant Nick Kyrgios 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7 (5/7), 6-4 in the doubles rubber after Australia had won both of Friday’s singles.

In other World Group ties Israel are 2-1 up against Belgium, Germany have a 2-1 edge on Brazil while the Netherlands defeated Austria 3-0.

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