Czechs breeze past Australia to Fed Cup semis

Updated 10 February 2013
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Czechs breeze past Australia to Fed Cup semis

PRAGUE: Petra Kvitova led holders Czech Republic into the Fed Cup semi-finals by giving them a winning lead with a three-set victory over Australia’s Samantha Stosur in Ostrava on Sunday.
The Czechs also won the dead doubles rubber later on Sunday for an overall 4-0 win.
In the clash of the teams’ number-one players, Kvitova, the world No.8, needed two hours and five minutes to beat 9th-ranked Stosur 2-6, 7-6 (7/3), 6-4.
On the hardcourt in Ostrava, about 320 kilometers (200 miles) east of Prague, Stosur took the first set easily, then had a match point in the second, but Kvitova fought back to take the set in a tie-break.
In the decisive set, she gave up a break leading 5-3 but immediately took it back to give the Czechs a seventh straight Fed Cup win.
“I’m really happy. I think it was one of my best games this season,” said Kvitova, who led the Czechs to two straight Fed Cup victories in 2011 and 2012.
“We won, but it wasn’t easy, each game was like a seesaw,” she added.
Stosur said she was also happy with the way she played despite the loss.
On Saturday, Kvitova beat Australia’s Jarmila Gajdosova 7-6 (7/2), 6-3, before Lucie Safarova handed the Czechs a second point against Stosur in two tie-breaks — 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (7/4).
In Sunday’s dead doubles rubber, Czechs Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka, the world numbers three and four in the format, beat Australian Open finalists Casey Dellacqua and 16-year-old Ashleigh Barty 6-0, 7-6.
The Czechs are eyeing a Fed Cup treble, something the former Czechoslovakia — which split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993 — achieved in 1983-1985.
In the semi-finals, the Czechs will face either Italy or the United States. The US team led hosts Italy 2-1 on Sunday afternoon.
Kvitova said she would prefer Italy in the semi-finals as “it would be much better than having to fly to America, although they would be terribly strong on clay.”


Sublime Mohamed Salah leads Liverpool to stunning 5-2 win over Roma

Updated 32 sec ago
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Sublime Mohamed Salah leads Liverpool to stunning 5-2 win over Roma

  • Liverpool move onto 38 goals for this season’s competition — 11 more than any other team
  • Salah is now on 43 goals for the season in all competitions

LIVERPOOL: Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah put his former side Roma to the sword on Tuesday night with a scintillating performance as the Reds ran riot at Anfield, taking a commading 5-2 lead into next week’s second leg in Rome.
The Italian side had no answer to the Egyptian superstar’s sublime skill as he scored two world-class goals and set up another two for Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.
Firmino added the fifth as the Merseyside club romped into a 5-0 lead to put the English side within touching distance of the Champions League final.
Salah’s display was as exquisite as Roma’s defending was naive, with Liverpool scoring all of their goals in a breathtaking 33-minute spell either side of halftime amid a cauldron of noise at Anfield.
But two consolation goals in the final nine minutes from Edin Dzeko and Diego Perotti has given Roma hope of recreating their heroics from the previous leg against Barcelona.
In the latest virtuoso performance of his stunning first season at Liverpool, Salah curled a shot into the top corner in the 36th minute and doubled the lead in the 45th with a dinked finish that is fast becoming his trademark. He is now on 43 goals for the season in all competitions with potentially five games left.
The Egypt forward was not finished there, taking advantage of Roma’s high defensive line to provide crosses for Mane and Firmino to score almost identical goals in the 56th and 61st minutes, respectively.
Firmino glanced home a header from James Millner’s corner in the 69th to leave Roma’s players on the floor — literally in the case of their distressed goalkeeper, Alisson.
Liverpool moved onto 38 goals for this season’s competition — 11 more than any other team — but cannot begin preparing for the final in Kiev on May 26 quite yet.
Dzeko chested down a long pass to make it 5-1 in the 81st and when Milner handled a shot from Radja Nainggolan, Perotti converted the penalty in the 89th.
Bayern Munich play Real Madrid in the other semifinal, with the first leg in Germany on Wednesday.
Roma knows all about Salah, who scored 15 goals and set up 11 more in the second of his two seasons at the Italian club before joining Liverpool for 42 million euros (then $47 million) in June.
He’s obliterating those figures at Anfield this season. His double saw him surge past Cristiano Ronaldo’s 42 goals for Manchester United in the 2007-08 season, for example.
Salah won English soccer’s Player of the Year award on Sunday. At this rate, the Ballon D’Or could be his next year.