• Monday, Jun 14, 2021
  • Last Update : 01:55 pm

Czechs close in on successful Davis Cup defence

  • Published at 05:17 pm November 17th, 2013
Czechs close in on successful Davis Cup defence

The Czech Republic got within a point of defending the Davis Cup title as Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek beat Serbia's Ilija Bozoljac and Nenad Zimonjic in Saturday's doubles in Belgrade.

Berdych and Stepanek won the 14th of their 15 Davis Cup doubles rubbers together as they swept the hosts 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) in two hours and 12 minutes to give the Czechs a 2-1 lead over 2010 champions Serbia.

In Sunday's reverse singles, world number two Novak Djokovic will first take on Berdych and Stepanek is due to face Dusan Lajovic, world number 117 who has replaced the injured 36th-ranked Janko Tipsarevic.

But Serbia captain Bogdan Obradovic said he may call on Bozoljac for the fifth rubber.

"For sure Novak is going to play, but I'm going to talk to the guys tonight and we'll make a decision" about the fifth rubber, he said.

Stepanek said he had no priority.

"I have to get ready for my rubber, for my performance, no matter who's on the other side. The good thing is we didn't waste too much energy today," he said.

The Czechs dominated the doubles, being a more compact team from the start.

The 28-year-old Berdych served and returned well throughout while the 34-year-old Stepanek -- the world number nine for doubles -- gave yet another spotless display at the net, delivering stunning volleys.

"I dare say this was maybe one of our best performances as a team," Stepanek said.

Zimomjic added: "They were better in every aspect of the game, a really strong team, they've been playing together for many years and this is the reality."

"They were controlling the game from the beginning to the end."

The two Czechs, who only play together in the Davis Cup, allowed just a single break point in the whole rubber midway through the third set.

The 37-year-old Zimonjic, world number 14 for doubles, received the Davis Cup Award of Excellence before the match, but he showed only hints of his talent to the frantic home crowd.

Zimonjic lost the very first serve of the rubber and when Bozoljac, who is 28, followed suit in the seventh game, the Czechs won the first set 6-2 in just 30 minutes.

They took 40 minutes to win the second set -- Zimonjic kept struggling with his serve, lost his first one again and that was all the Czechs needed to win 6-4.

The third set was the tightest as the Czechs cooled off a bit while the Serbian pair showed the blend of skills that took them past the Bryan brothers in the Davis Cup quarter-finals in April.

Both pairs held on to their serves until a tiebreak in which the Czechs regained their dominance to win 7-6 (7/4).

"Today they dealt with pressure much better than we did. They won almost every important point in the match," said Bozoljac.

Berdych said he was happy the team was "meeting the weekend plan" and that both he and Stepanek will "do our best to sit here as winners."

Against Djokovic, "I have nothing to lose, it's a huge challenge for me to play him in front of his home crowd. I'm in the best possible position after Saturday," Berdych said.

On Friday, Djokovic, the world number two and recently-crowned ATP World Tour Finals champion, beat Stepanek, 7-5, 6-1, 6-4.

Seventh-ranked Berdych then put the Czechs level with a three-set win over Lajovic -- 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 -- on the hardcourt at the sold-out Belgrade Arena which sits more than 15,000 people.

Besides Tipsarevic, Serbia are missing 76th-ranked Viktor Troicki, out over a doping ban.

Playing their third final in five years, the Czechs in turn have an interim captain for this tie as Vladimir Safarik replaced Jaroslav Navratil who was hospitalised with a pulmonary embolism.

50
Facebook 50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail