Prague, Czech Republic (Sports Network) - The 2013 Davis Cup semifinal between
the host and reigning champion Czech Republic and Argentina got underway
Friday, as Radek Stepanek cruised past Juan Monaco in straight sets in the
opening singles rubber to give the Czechs a 1-0 lead.
The 34-year-old Stepanek fired 13 aces and rolled past his fellow former
top-10 star Monaco 7-6 (7-3), 6-3, 6-2 in 2 hours, 33 minutes. The Czech
veteran piled up six service breaks, compared to three for the Argentine
The best-of-five tie is being staged on an indoor hardcourt at Prague's O2
Stepanek-Monaco will be followed by a match between former Wimbledon runner-up
Tomas Berdych and Leonardo Mayer.
Saturday's doubles call for a Czech tandem of Lukas Rosol and Jiri Vesely to
face an Argentine duo of Carlos Berlocq and Horacio Zeballos, while Sunday's
reverse singles tentatively pit the world No. 5 Berdych against the 30th-
ranked Monaco and Stepanek versus Mayer.
The menacing Berdych is 24-12 in his career Davis Cup singles. He will also
most likely also play in Saturday's doubles, alongside Stepanek. as has been
the recent custom for the Czechs.
Argentina is playing this week without world No. 7 and former U.S. Open champ
Juan Martin del Potro.
The Czechs are captained by Jaroslav Navratil, while the Argentines are guided
by Martin Jaite.
The Czech Republic captured its' first Davis Cup title by beating then
reigning champion Spain in last year's final here in Prague, as the veteran
Stepanek pulled out a dramatic fifth and deciding rubber at the O2.
Hard-luck Argentina is a four-time Davis Cup runner-up, including two years
ago against the Spaniards.
The winner in Prague will face the Canada-Serbia victor in the World Group
final in November.
The Sports Network