Ostrava, Czech Republic (SportsNetwork.com) - The reigning two-time champion
Czech Republic and visiting Netherlands are all even at 1-1 after Friday's
opening singles play in a best-of-five opening-round Davis Cup tie.
The first rubber saw capable Dutchman Robin Haase pop 14 aces in outlasting
35-year-old Czech Davis Cup hero Radek Stepanek, 3-6, 6-4, 6-7 (4-7), 6-2,
6-1, in 3 hours, 39 minutes. Haase broke Stepanek six times, while the Czech
veteran settled for only three breaks in a losing effort.
Stepanek clinched both Davis Cup titles for the Czechs in 2012 and last year
by winning fifth and deciding rubbers in the previous two World Group finals.
Friday's nightcap in Ostrava was simply a rout, as the Australian Open
semifinalist and former Wimbledon runner-up Berdych easily blew past Dutchman
Igor Sijsling 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 in 1 hour, 42 minutes on the indoor hardcourt at
Berdych and Stepanek combined to lead the Czechs to those two straight Davis
Cup 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 Berdych against Haase and
Stepanek versus Sijsling. Berdych and Stepanek will in all likelihood play
together in Saturday's doubles bout.
The mighty Czechs are captained by Jaroslav Navratil, while Jan Siemerink is
guiding the Dutch.
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 a quarterfinal
The Sports Network