Champion Czechs will open with Stepanek against the Dutch

10:52 AM, Jan 30, 2014   |    comments
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Ostrava, Czech Republic (SportsNetwork.com) - The reigning two-time champion Czech Republic will face the Netherlands in a best-of-five opening-round Davis Cup tie this weekend, which will get underway with a rubber between Radek Stepanek and Robin Haase on Friday.

The heroic Stepanek clinched both Davis Cup titles for the Czechs by winning fifth and deciding rubbers in the previous two finals.

Stepanek-Haase will be followed Friday by a bout between former Wimbledon runner-up Tomas Berdych and Dutchman Igor Sijsling. Berdych and Stepanek have combined to lead the Czechs to two straight titles, including a victory over Serbia in last year's finale.

Saturday's doubles in Ostrava currently call for a Czech tandem of Lukas Rosol and Jiri Vesely to take on a Dutch duo of Thiemo de Bakker and Jean-Julien Rojer, while Sunday's reverse singles pit last week's Australian Open semifinalist Berdych against Haase and Stepanek versus Sijsling.

The tie will be staged on an indoor hardcourt at Cez Arena.

The mighty Czechs are captained by Jaroslav Navratil, while Jan Siemerink will guide the Dutchmen.

The Czech Republic beat the Netherlands 4-1 in a World Group playoff in 2006 in their lone previous meeting. The former Czechoslovakia went 3-1 versus the Dutch from 1925-1978.

The Czech-Dutch winner will face the Canada-Japan victor in the quarterfinals in April.

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