In Sports News: Czech tennis player Tomáš Berdych is downed by American Andy Roddick in the final of the Miami Masters but becomes the country’s No.1 ranked player; Hockey’s Slavia win a crucial Game 3 in their semi-final series against Vítkovice, while Pardubice take a 2-0 lead in their series against Liberec; in football Sparta tie with Plzeň to hold on to a slim lead atop the league standings; and in Champions League action Tomáš Rosicky’s Arsenal eke out a 2:2 draw against Barca.
Czech tennis player Tomáš Berdych was defeated by American Andy Roddick in the final of the Miami Masters on Sunday. One break of serve in each set was enough for Roddick, who didn't face a break point in the entire match which he won 7-5, 6-4. His victory brought an end to the impressive run for Berdych, who had survived a match point to shock world No. 1 Roger Federer in the fourth round. The Czech tennis player said he was disappointed not to have won, but stressed that overall he was satisfied with his performance throughout the tournament. After reaching the final of the Miami Masters on Sunday, 24-year-old Tomáš Berdych has now become the Czech Republic’s No. 1 player; he is ranked 16th in the world.
The semi-finals in the Czech hockey league are well underway, with Slavia fighting their way back into their series against Vítkovice, to trail 2:1. Slavia led throughout the game but Vítkovice didn’t make it easy – almost whenever Slavia went ahead, Vítkovice tied within a matter of seconds. In the 52nd minute, Slavia, though, were able to score again – the lone goal of the 3rd period – to finally seal the match at 5:3. They face Vítkovice again on Tuesday and will be hoping to level what is proving to be a tough series at two apiece.
In the other hockey semi-final Liberec were flattened by Pardubice in Game 2 - Pardubice rolled over the White Tigers with four unanswered goals. Former NHL legend Dominik Hašek shone in net, stopping 22 shots, proving that at 45 he still has what it takes to win. The two teams face each other again on Wednesday, with Pardubice (the playoff champions back in 2005) hoping no doubt to gain a dominant stranglehold on Liberec in their best-of-seven match-up.
In the top Czech football league the Gambrinus Liga, Sparta eked out a single point against Plzeň to retain a slim lead atop the league standings. In their game Plzeň led 1:0 well into the second half when Sparta orchestrated a comeback to take a 2:1 lead. Goals from Wilfried and Kucka put Sparta ahead by the 87th minute, but the team was unable to hang on in the hectic finish. In what proved to be the key play, Sparta failed to clear the ball which was blasted past goalkeeper Blažek by Plzeň’s Rajtoral. Sparta still retain a two-point lead in the standings over second-place Ostrava.
In Champions League action last week, Czech star midfielder Tomáš Rosický’s Arsenal appeared nothing short of defeat in their first-leg quarterfinal match against Barcelona, trailing 2:0; but they were able to come back with a remarkable finish. Barca struck twice in the opening minutes of the second half to bring the Gunners to their knees – both goals coming from Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Then it was Arsenal’s turn: first, substitute Theo Walcott scored with 21 minutes left, then Fabregas - brought down by Barca captain Puyol - scored on a penalty in the 85th minute. The two teams face each other again on Tuesday evening in what will likely prove to be a difficult re-match at Barcelona’s Nou Camp. Because of how points are awarded for away-goals, Arsenal will have to go for the win if it wants to continue in the most prestigious of club football competitions.
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