The Czech Republic have defended their place in tennis's Davis Cup World Group, with a 5:0 play-off win over Paraguay in Asuncion at the weekend. The Czechs, who have never been knocked out of the 16-nation elite group, took the first two singles matches through number one player Jiri Novak and Tomas Berdych, who has just turned 19. Novak and Radek Stepanek then wrapped up the best-of-five contest with a win in the doubles. The former had this to say afterwards.
"We Czechs can play a varied game, but the Paraguayans just stayed at the base-line - that was the main difference. Of course it was a relief to us psychologically when we went 2:0 up on matches - it meant we could lose a match, which Paraguay couldn't afford to do. As for the crowd, I thought it'd be a lot wilder here, but in the end it was just the same as playing before spectators in Europe."
The Czech team completed the 5:0 win with victories in the reverse singles for Stepanek and Michal Tabara.
As the Athens Paralympics draw to a close, the Czech Republic have 26 medals: 13 gold, seven silver and six bronze. The star of the Czech Paralympic team has been swimmer Martin Kovar, who has come first in the 100m, 200m and 50m freestyle. His gold medal in the 50m was presented by Czech Prime Minister Stanislav Gross, who visited the country's team in Athens on Saturday.
Jaromir Jagr was without doubt the star of the weekend's action in the Czech ice hockey Extraliga, scoring a hat trick for Kladno in their 4:1 win over Znojmo on Friday. Local hero Jagr may not have dominated Sunday's game against Slavia so completely, but a 1:0 scoreline means Kladno have won on all three occasions the forward has played for the club this season. Another Czech megastar currently at home due to the NHL lockout, Patrik Elias, is expected to make his first appearance for Znojmo against Zlin next weekend.
The retirement of Czech football captain Pavel Nedved is continuing to make the headlines, with a public spat between national coach Karel Bruckner and people close to the Juventus midfielder, who is struggling with a knee injury. Nedved's lawyer says Bruckner put pressure on the 32-year-old to play in the World Cup qualifiers against Romania and Armenia next month, a charge strenuously denied by Bruckner.
There is a question mark over who will succeed Nedved as Czech captain. The man considered the country's greatest ever player, Josef Masopust, has a surprising choice for captain: Petr Cech - that despite the fact the goalkeeper is only 22. Meanwhile, Cech has continued his amazing start at Chelsea with another clean sheet on Saturday; he has conceded just one goal in seven games in the Premiership.
Czech league leaders Sparta impressed in a 4:2 win over Pribram at the weekend, good preparation for their Champions League game against Lyon in Prague on Tuesday. Sparta will be aiming to take all three points from the Lyon game, after losing their first group stage game at Fenerbahce. Elsewhere in the Czech league, Slavia drew 1:1 with Jablonec, the sixth time in a row the two clubs have been tied, and Banik Ostrava beat Zlin 4:1. Olomouc - like Ostrava taking a deficit into the second leg of a UEFA Cup tie later in the week - were 1:0 winners over Blsany.
Decathlete Roman Sebrle has ended an excellent season with a win, and $30,000 prize money, at the Grand Prix in Talence, France. The Olympic champion was undefeated this year.
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