Czech it out! Photographer: Paul Zimmer
Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek took care of business on Saturday, pairing up after their epic five setters the day before to beat Marin Cilic/Lovro Zovko in the doubles: 6-1 6-3 6-4. The Czech team is now 3-0 over the Croatians, and is guaranteed a spot in the Davis Cup finals this December.
Czech mates! Photographer: Paul Zimmer
Though the Czechs were playing in Croatia, they still enjoyed significant support from the stands. Here’s the on-the-ground report via daviscup.com:
The Zatika Arena was reminiscent of a heavy metal rock concert. The cheering, chanting, and jumping up and down courtside would have been more at home at a Pearl Jam performance. An entire section of men with all body shapes removed their shirts and started to swing them in the air while singing. They were celebrating.
In Spain, the Defending Champions also pulled off the 3-0 lead against their semifinal rivals, with Tommy Robredo and Feliciano Lopez taking out the slight favorites, Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram of Israel, in four sets: 7-6(6) 6-7(7) 6-4 6-2.
Team Spain. Photographer: Sergio Carmona
Both Rafael Nadal and Fernando Verdasco were sidelined with injury, but were literally on the sidelines to support the team (they joined in the victory lap, above). The final against the Czech Republic will be played in Spain, and if Rafa and ‘Nando are both healthy, a couple members of the current team will likely be left out (no F-LO? Adios JCF?) Talk about a problem most teams would like to have.
WORLD GROUP PLAYOFFS
Roger is not amused. Photographer: Angelo Tonelli
There’s some drama in Italy, where the Italian team of Bolelli/Starace snagged the crucial doubles point from Wawrinka/Chiudinelli on Satuday, bringing things to 2-1, Switzerland. Roger Federer, who was taken out of the doubles rubber for a rest, will try to wrap things up in the fourth rubber vs. Seppi on Sunday.
The (Nole-less) Serbs are the only playoff team already guranteed a spot in the World Group. They beat the Uzbeks 3-0.
The dreamy team. Photographer: Virginie Bouyer
Jo Wilfried Tsonga and Michael Llodra pulled France ahead, 2-1, vs. the Netherlands.
Click here for more World Group Playoff results.
In ZONAL TIE news, things are looking bad for team Britain, down 1-2 to Poland after Marcin Matkowski and Mariusz Fyrstenberg defeated Andy Murray and Ross Hutchins in the doubles on Saturday. It’s unlikely that Murray will play again on Sunday, due to wrist tendinitis that he says is not improving. Where’s Tiger Tim when you need him?