In Sports News: Petra Kvitová downs Sharapova in a thrilling Wimbledon final; Peschke in the doubles and Iveta Benešová in the mixed doubles also prove victorious; hockey star Jágr shocks Pens fans by signing with the Philadelphia Flyers; free agent goalie Tomáš Vokoun agrees deal with Washington, home to fellow Czech netminder Michal Neuwirth.
It was a fairy tale ending to an excellent Wimbledon tournament by Czech tennis player Petra Kvitová: on Saturday the eighth seed defeated Russian opponent Maria Sharapova, a three-time Grand Slam winner, in the championship match, showing considerable physical strength and steely nerves. Even during one of the few weaker streaks in the match, Kvitová was unperturbed and pushed single-mindedly forward for the win in straight sets, dominating Sharapova in the first 6:2, despite her serve being broken in her first game. She then closed out the second 6:4. The final point in the match, coming at 40:0 in the final game, was an ace, drawing wows from the crowd as well as commentators.
Awarded on centre court, just moments after her sensational achievement here’s what Kvitová had to say:
“Well yeah, it’s hard to find some words if I’m standing here with the trophy and see the great players in the royal box. Well... I’m so happy that I won!”
Interviewer: You showed no sign of nerves. Your coach, your trainer, were very excited in that last game, but you looked so calm. Were you not nervous?
Kvitová has moved up from the 8th to 7th in the women’s rankings and many share the opinion Wimbledon will be just the beginning for her, that there should be more Grand Slam titles to come. Some of the ways she made history? She became the first left-handed player to clinch the title since Czech tennis legend Martina Navratilová in 1990; she also ended a 13-year drought since the last Czech win by Jana Novotná in 1998. Both they, as well as Jan Kodeš who won Wimbledon in 1973, were on hand to see the final; Kvitová received congratulations from many, including tennis legend Ivan Lendl.
Kvitová’s was not the only Czech triumph at this year’s Wimbledon: Květa Peshke and her tennis partner Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia clinched the women’s doubles title, beating Sabine Lisicki of Germany and Austria’s Samantha Stosur 6:3, 6:1.
In the mixed doubles, Czech player Iveta Benešová and Jurgen Melzer of Austria defeated Mahesh Bhupathi of India and Elena Vesnina of Russia 6:3, 6:2.
Last Friday all eyes were on the NHL as the free agent market opened at 12 pm ET and among the most closely-watched was star Czech hockey forward Jaromír Jágr who spent the last three years with Omsk in the KHL. Although the Detroit Red Wings, the Montreal Canadiens and others expressed an interest in the winger, it was widely-believed that the Pittsburgh Penguins, where Jágr began his career 20-odd years ago, had the inside track.
Jágr won two Stanley Cups with the team and the Penguins went public mid-week with an offer of roughly 2 million US dollars for one year. But, they withdrew it two days later after failing to receive confirmation.
In the end, Jágr stunned many by opting to go with the Pens’ inter-state rivals, the Philadelphia Flyers, where Jágr signed for one year for a reported 3.3 million. At a press conference he responded to angry Pens fans, he said he hadn’t wanted to hurt anyone but made clear that Philly’s playing style suited his own. One key factor, he suggested, was the possibility as a left-winger of playing with right-handed centres Briere and Giroux, not least on the powerplay. Last season, the Flyers were one of the top clubs in the NHL, finishing 3rd in the regular season behind Washington and Vancouver.
Czech goalie Tomáš Vokoun, who helped power the Czech Republic to a gold medal at last year’s World Championship in Germany, has left behind the Florida Panthers for the Washington Capitals after signing a one-year contract for 1.5 million dollars. During his four seasons with the Panthers the team never once made it into the playoffs, so Vokoun will be hoping to see some post-season ice time next spring. In Washington the goalie with join another Czech netminder on the roster, Michal Neuwirth.
In other deals, the San Jose Sharks agreed a shock trade of Dany Heatley for Czech forward Martin Havlát of the Wild, who waived a no-movement clause in his contract to join the team.
There’s still no word, meanwhile on the future of Czech defenceman and
2011 Stanley Cup winner Tomáš Kabrle who plays for the Boston Bruins.
Over 1,000 skeletons discovered during renovation of Kutná Hora “bone church”
Language exams for foreigners seeking permanent residency permit to become tougher
Why are Russian and Chinese spying activities in Czech Republic so intense and how exactly do they do it?
Prague’s historical Koh-i-noor factory to be converted into residential area
The history of the “German Czechs”