Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 14th 2013 Contents A60
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LONDON---The Czech Republic
closed in on its third Davis Cup final
in five years by taking a 2-0 lead
against Argentina yesterday while
Milos Raonic saved a match point
before winning a tense five-setter
to put Canada level at 1-1 against
Serbia in the other semifinal.
Stepanek swept aside Juan Monaco
7-6 (3), 6-3, 6-2 before the fifth-
ranked Berdych stretched the margin
for the defending champion Czechs
with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory
over hard-hitting Leonardo Mayer.
Stepanek and Berdych can now secure
a return to the final in today s doubles,
where they have a 12-1 record in Davis
"We are 2-0 up, that s what we
wanted. Now, the most important
thing is to get ready for the doubles,"
The other semifinal looks set to be
more closely contested, despite top-
ranked Novak Djokovic s dominant
Djokovic bounced back from his
loss to Rafael Nadal in Monday s US
Open final by routing Vasek Pospisil
6-2, 6-0, 6-4 to give Serbia a 1-0
lead in Belgrade. But in the best match
of the day, Raonic served 34 aces to
outlast Janko Tipsarevic 5-7, 6-3, 3-
6, 6-3, 10-8 in a match lasting 4
hours, 11 minutes.
Raonic saved a match point when
trailing 5-4 in the fifth set, and then
used four aces in five points to finally
serve out the match.
"It s great to come back from 2-
1 down," Raonic said. "It s important
to get through these types of things.
I was serving really well and that kept
me alive. It s down to business tomor-
row and hopefully I m fighting hard
Djokovic won 12 consecutive games
midway through his match and dis-
patched the 41st-ranked Pospisil
without facing a break point.
The Serb said he was still recov-
ering from the change of time zones
and jet leg after arriving in the Serbian
capital on Wednesday.
"I m glad the match was short,"
Djokovic said. "I ve done really well
considering I ve had one, one-and-
a-half practices since returning from
the United States. I know I lack fresh-
ness in my legs."
Nadal also made an impressive
return to the court following the short
In Spain s World Group playoffs
against Ukraine, Nadal overwhelmed
Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-0, 6-0, 6-4 on
outdoor clay to put Spain 2-0 up
going into the doubles. Fernando Ver-
dasco beat Alexandr Dolgopolov 3-
6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 in the opening
Nadal is playing in his first Davis
Cup match since the 2011 final, in
part because of a seven-month layoff
due to a knee injury, but said he felt
fine returning to his preferred clay
after the hard courts in New York.
"I only had a short time to get used
to clay gain, a surface I love," he said.
"Changing surfaces quickly is not the
best thing for your legs." (AP)
Serbia's Novak Djokovic
clinches his fist as he
celebrates a point won against
Canada's Vasek Pospisil
during their Davis Cup
semifinals tennis match in
Belgrade, Serbia, yesterday.
Djokovic won 6-2, 6-0, 6-4.
Czechs close in on another Davis Cup final
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