Stepanek opens for Czechs against Argentina in Davis Cup semi

Sept. 12, 2013 at 8:03 AM
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PRAGUE, Czech Republic, Sept. 12 (UPI) -- Radek Stepanek was given the first singles match and Tomas Berdych the second for the Czech Republic in its Davis Cup semifinal against Argentina.

Stepanek and Berdych posted seven singles wins and teamed to win all four doubles matches in the Czechs' run to the 2012 Davis Cup title. They face the third step in that championship defense this weekend in a best-of-five series against Argentina.

The matches are to be played on a hard court indoors at the O2 Arena in Prague, Czech Republic.

The winner of the Argentine-Czech series moves into the102nd Davis Cup final Nov. 15-17 against either Canada or Serbia.

While Berdych, at No. 5 in the world rankings, is highest ranked among the scheduled players, all the competitors are in the Top 100.

Stepanek goes against Juan Monaco in the first singles match Friday with Berdych called on to face Leonardo Mayer in the second.

Czech captain Jaroslav Navratil penciled in Lukas Rosol and Jiri Vesely for Saturday's doubles match, passing on Berdych and Stepanek, who went 4-0 in doubles matches in 2012. Argentina is expected to counter with Carlos Berlocq and Horacio Zeballos.

The reverse singles Sunday open with Berdych taking on Monaco with a Stepanek-Mayer pairing the possible deciding match.

The Czechs are 4-1 in Davis Cup competition versus Argentina, including a 3-2 semifinal win last year. The Czech Republic is looking for a third Davis Cup title.

Czechs were part of the Czechoslovakian team that won the cup in 1980. Argentina is yet to win the Davis Cup but is a four-time runner-up. Argentina lost in 2008 and '11 to Spain in its most recent trips to the finals.

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