In Sports News this Monday: Czechs reach semis of Fed Cup after coming from behind to beat Spain – Strýcová lauds home support; Koukalová takes gold at Biathlon World Championships; Czechs come second in Swedish Games; and Schick again finds target for Sampdoria.
The Czech Republic have reached the semi-finals of tennis’s Fed Cup after beating Spain in Ostrava at the weekend. The hosts got off to a poor start, when Barbora Strýcová was beaten in the opening rubber by Garbine Muguruza. However, world number three Karolína Plíšková turned things around with two wins to tee up Strýcová for a decisive 6-4 6-4 victory over Lara Arruabarrena.
After securing progress on Sunday, Barbora Strýcová was quick to praise the home fans.
“We always manage to play super matches in the Fed Cup and to galvanise ourselves. I have to say that the fans really spur us on. We really play for them. They help us – they’re part of the whole thing.”
The Czechs, who are bidding to win the Fed Cup for the fourth time in a row, will now face the US – again at home – in April.
Gabriela Koukalová confirmed her position as the sport’s biggest Czech star by taking gold in Friday’s sprint event at the Biathlon World Championships at Hochfilzen, Germany. The 27-year-old said her famous victory was all too much to take in.
“It’s amazing. I can’t really assess it all yet because there have been so many feelings that I’m kind of disoriented. But I think the fact that after my red hair colour I am now rather blonde is a factor in this – I always really process my feelings once everything is over.”
Koukalová picked up another medal on Sunday, bronze in the pursuit. That success came despite three penalty loops incurred after a problem with the ammunition in her first shooting round.
As with the previous Channel One Cup, the Czech national ice hockey team managed just one win in three games at the Swedish Games, a 7:1 drubbing of Finland. Nevertheless, the Czechs did come second, impressing in a 4:2 defeat to Russia on Sunday that could have seen them win the tournament if it had gone the other way.
Patrik Schick has scored his sixth goal of the season in Italy, underlining his positive start in soccer’s Serie A. The Czech international, who is 21, found the net and made one assist as his Sampdoria beat Bologna 3:1 on Sunday. Schick’s national team colleague Ladislav Krejčí – also an ex-Sparta Prague player – was on the losing side.
Fans of the domestic game can look forward to the return of the Czech top flight next weekend. Leaders Plzeň versus Příbram and Sparta against Bohemians will be among the most attractive ties in the first round following the two and a half month winter break.