Plzeň remain unbeaten, Slavia bounces back, Sparta loses ground; Italian Andrea Pagan wins the Czech Masters, his first European title; five Czech women, including two debutantes, reach the US Open in New York.
In the sixth round of the Czech football championship, Viktoria Plzeň crushed Mladá Boleslav (6-1) on Sunday. Unbeaten since the start of the season, the defending champion club remain at the top of the standings.
Slavia Prague, meanwhile, which tasted defeat for the first time in the Fortuna Liga last week, emerged victorious on Saturday dispatching Teplice (3-0). Among the league favourites, only Sparta Prague lost ground this week. Baník Ostrava jumped ahead of Sparta in the standings, to third, with its 2-0 win over Dukla Prague at home.
In golf news, Italian Andrea Pavan edged out three-time major champion Pádraig Harrington of Ireland at the Czech Masters to capture his first European Tour title at the Albatross Golf Resort in Prague, for a purse of 1 million euros. None of the local lads made the cut, but Filip Mrůzek, who has a Challenge Tour rank of 104, came close.
The 2018 US Open kicks off on Monday with a fortnight of play featuring Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic in the men’s contest and defending champion Sloane Stephens, World No.1 Simona Halep, and both of the Williams sisters, Venus and Serena, in the women’s.
This year there are five Czech women tennis players in the Grand Slam singles tournament, including eighth-seeded Karolína Plíšková, veterans Lucie Šafářová and Barbora Strýcová, and two women in their early twenties making their US Open debuts. In 2016, Karolína Plíšková reached the US Open final after besting Venus and Serena Williams in the fourth round and semi-finals, respectively. In 2017, she entered the tournament as the world’s top player. On Monday, Plíšková faces Zarina Dijas of Kazakhstan.
First up among the debutantes is Marie Bouzková, who in 2014 became the first Czech ever to win the US Open junior title, has since gone on to rack up 11 ITF Pro Circuit titles as she climbed the senior rankings, cracking the Top 200 last June. Now ranked World No.171, Bouzková faces Ana Bogdan of Romania.
Fellow Czech newbie Karolína Muchová, two spots shy of cracking the Top 200, will face Dayana Yastremska of Ukraine, who achieved a career-high WTA singles ranking of 100 this July. Muchová had an impressive run through qualifying with a win over Vitalia Diatchenko, Maria Sharapova's Wimbledon conqueror.
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