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Haas pulls Netherlands even with Czechs in Davis Cup

Jan. 31, 2014 at 3:54 PM   |   Comments

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OSTRAVA, Czech Republic, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- Robin Haase posted a five-set win that allowed the Netherlands to leave Friday's play with a 1-1 tie against the Czech Republic in a Davis Cup first round.

The Czech Republic is looking to be the first team to win three consecutive Davis Cup titles since the United States won five in a row over 1968-72.

Haase grabbed the first point of this weekend's best-of-five series for the Dutch with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-7 (4-7), 6-2, 6-1 decision over Radek Stepanek. World No. 7-ranked Tomas Berdych then made short work of Igor Sijsling, winning 6-3, 6-3, 6-0, and evened the match.

Haase won just six more points than Stepanek in taking the fourth set but claimed almost two-thirds of those in the fifth set to outlast Stepanek and improve to 17-7 in Davis Cup singles matches.

Stepanek has been a mainstay for the Czechs in their two titles runs -- but just as important has been Berdych, who didn't face a break point in his win Friday over Sijsling. Berdych dropped just 10 points in 12 games serving. He is 27-13 in Davis Cup singles.

The Netherlands nominated a doubles team of Thiemo de Bakker and Jean-Julien Rojer to go against Czechs Lukas Rosol and Jiri Vesely in Saturday doubles match. But the Czechs often insert Berdych and Stepanek into the doubles match so a switch could be coming.

They are also scheduled for Sunday when Berdych and Haas are to be the first match of reverse singles with Stepanek and Sijsling to follow.

The winner of the Netherlands-Czech Republic series earns a spot in the Davis Cup quarterfinals against either Canada or Japan, which are tied 1-1 in their series this weekend. The quarterfinals are scheduled for April 4-6.

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