Giving tennis more than a shot

Davis Cup – What A Weekend! (3)

From Spain’s nearly routine home win and the United States surprising France on the Monte Carlo clay, to relating at length today the agony and the joy of those following the Argentina vs Croatia tie, leaving no room for the last one. The Davis Cup tie between the Czech Republic and Serbia was also a dramatic tie, although not with the same kind of drama that surrounded that taking place in Argentina.

 

Czech Republic 4, Serbia 1

As these matches were usually at the same time as the Drama of Parque Roca, I admit I haven’t seen much of this tie, held in Prague. In my preview, I wrote about the unpredictability of both of the Czech Republic’s singles players, Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek, forgetting that the latter is some sort of Davis Cup warrior, often neglected but often the one to get into tight four or five-set battles.

 

There was no unpredictability in Tomas Berdych on Friday, as he easily took the measure of the still-slumping Viktor Troicki, 6-2 6-1 6-2, one of the easiest wins of the Czech over a top 50 opponent in a bit.

 

The second match, opposing Radek Stepanek to Janko Tipsarevic, was really the one that set the dramatic tone of the tie. The match was a tight and emotional 5:09 battle, won 5-7 6-4 6-4 4-6 9-7 by World no 8 Tipsarevic, who saved four match points in the process.

 

It’s what came at the end of the match that was cause for drama, as Stepanek shook Tpisarevic’s hand presenting him his middle finger bent, a gesture which, in Eastern European countries, is seen as an insult. Tipsarevic had to be held by the Serbian captain to prevent him from going at Stepanek. Apparently (although that is just hearsay), Stepanek also uttered some insults towards his opponent. 

 

We know that Stepanek is a hot-head and can do rather abhorring things in the heat of the moment (although Tipsarevic is no angel either). The problem, however, is that the Serbians kept him so deep a grudge that it made them lose their focus for the rest of the tie.

 

Berdych and Stepanek were finally sent on court instead of Frantisek Cermak and Lukas Rosol, which didn’t come as a surprise, considering how badly the Czechs wanted the pivotal doubles rubber. They did not waste much time in giving their country a 2-1 lead, defeating Ilja Bozoljac and Nenad Zimonjjic in straight sets, 6-4 6-2 7-6(4), with Bozoljac refusing to shake Stepanek’s hand at the end of the match in retaliation for what had been done the night before, and both Serbian players adding oil to the fire in press conference.

 

It’s in this very tense atmosphere that Tipsarevic went to play a decisive fourth rubber on Sunday. Facing fellow top-tenner Tomas Berdych, he gave all he could, only to see Berdych winning a heartbreaker of a match, 7-6(6) 7-6(6) 7-6(7), a match in which Tipsarevic often had the break advantage, only to relinquish it and ending up losing a very tough one.

 

With this win, the Czechs were sent to the semi-finals, and their winning celebration was… rather peculiar:

 

Photo: Michal Cizek/AFP/Getty Images)

 

Lukas Rosol sealed the 4-1 win of the home team with a 7-6(5) 7-5 triumph over Troicki.

The Czech Republic will meet Argentina in the semi-finals and I can wager that antics such as those displayed by Stepanek won’t happen in this tie, or that they won’t overly bother the hot-blooded Argentines to the point of losing focus for the rest of the tie if they do. The situation got really out of control and that’s a shame, not only on Stepanek’s side (he should have owned up to his actions), but on all sides involved.

 

World Group playoffs

In September, at the same time as the World Group semi-finals (Spain vs United States and Argentina vs Czech Republic) will be held the World Group playoffs. Over the weekend, these countries have qualified to take part in them:

 

  • Australia (d. Korea 5-0)
  • Belgium (d. Great Britain 4-1)
  • Brazil (d. Colombia 4-1)
  • Chile (d. Uruguay 3-1)
  • Israel (d. Portugal 3-2)
  • Netherlands (d. Romania 5-0)
  • South Africa (d. Slovenia 4-1)
  • Uzbekistan (d. India 3-2)

 

The ties will oppose one of the following seeded nations:

 

  • Canada
  • Germany
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Kazakhstan
  • Russia
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland

 

to one of these unseeded nations:

 

  • Australia
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • Japan
  • Netherlands
  • South Africa
  • Uzbekistan

 

The draw will take place on Wednesday morning and I will, of course, give you the detailed composition of each of the playoff ties.

 

Similar posts
  • Davis Cup – The End of a Great ... . Canada’s dream Davis Cup run ended in a dramatic fifth rubber, on an absolutely spectacular point that might have terrible consequences for one of the protagonists. It was a diving contest between Vasek Pospisil and Janko Tipsarevic, on the latter’s fifth match point, ending up a 7-6(3), 6-2, 7-6(6) win for Tipsarevic and a [...]
  • Davis Cup – Argentina So Close,... . We knew before the tie even started that it would be a near-impossible mission for Argentina to reach the final against Czech Republic, as much as we know that Davis Cup is a whole other ball game. Without Juan Martín del Potro, who did not want to play Davis Cup this year to put [...]
  • Davis Cup – Canada One Win Away... After Friday’s singles, in which logic prevailed, although barely in the case of Milos Raonic, Saturday’s doubles rubber became a must-win for Canada if they wanted to keep their hopes alive in the semifinal opposing them to Serbia. Djokovic dominates logically Novak Djokovic, despite having played the U.S. Open final only four days before and [...]
  • Djokovic, Nadal, Murray, and Berdych ... A new Davis Cup weekend is looming, and will bring us very interesting ties, as starting tomorrow (Belgium vs Israel), 20 countries will be involved in the World Group semifinals and playoffs. The interesting fact of those ties is that four of the top 5 members will be their countries’ leaders this weekend. Novak Djokovic, [...]
  • Australian Open – Seven Familiar Face...   The first semi-finalists of the Australian Open 2013 are known and if it is without surprise that Novak Djokovic almost “routined” Tomaš Berdych, with the exception of a dropped second set (6-1 4-6 6-1 6-4), David Ferrer has been led a more than merry chase by Nicolás Almagro, who not once, but three times [...]

Partners

   

Categories

   

Past Articles