Czechs must wait after being stunned by Kazakhs

Updated 07 April 2013
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Czechs must wait after being stunned by Kazakhs

ASTANA: Outsiders Kazakhstan stayed alive in their Davis Cup quarterfinal against holders Czech Republic after winning the doubles rubber yesterday.
The Czechs were looking to wrap up the tie after winning both of their singles matches on Friday, but Andrey Golubev and Yuri Schukin stunned Radek Stepanek and Jan Hajek 7-6, 6-4, 6-3 to take the contest into a third day.
Stepanek, who had not played since undergoing neck surgery in January to relieve stress on a nerve, teamed up with Hajek for the first time after his regular doubles partner Tomas Berdych pulled out of the indoor tie in Astana with a shoulder injury.
After losing the first set in a tie-breaker 7-2, the Czechs were gradually outplayed by the newly-made pair of Golubev and Schukin, who also won their previous doubles encounter in Davis Cup by beating Austria at the same venue in February.
Kazakhstan are now hoping for another shock victory over the Czechs after beating them 3-2 in their only previous Davis Cup encounter in Ostrava in 2011 when they made their debut in the World Group as an independent nation.
Today, Czech Lukas Rosol is scheduled to meet 156th-ranked Mikhail Kukushkin in the first reverse singles while Hajek must face Golubev in the last rubber, but visiting captain Jaroslav Navratil said he might alter the plan.
The winner of tie faces France or Argentina, who are tied 1-1 after the first day of their quarterfinal, in the semifinals in September.

Djokovic successfully blunted the powerful serve of towering American John Isner to win 7-6, 6-2, 7-5 and provide Serbia with the perfect start in Idaho.
But Querrey, who only recently became America’s top ranked player, battled his way back from a set down to defeat Victor Troicki 7-6, 3-6, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.
“These kind of matches are very intense and there is a lot at stake,” said Djokovic.
“You’re playing for your country. You get more involved with the emotions and you really want to start well.” Jo-Wilfried Tsonga overcame Carlos Berlocq 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 5-7, 6-2 to give France the early lead over Argentina but Monaco, ranked 19th in the world, ensured the tie remained wide open after he won the second singles.
“We have taken one point, we need two more,” Argentine captain Martin Jaite said.
Raonic cracked 25 aces to defeat Fabio Fognini 6-4, 7-6, 7-5 in Vancouver after Seppi fought back from two sets behind to beat lowly-ranked Vasek Pospisal 5-7 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3.


Profligate Arsenal punished by 10-man Atletico Madrid

The gunners could not defeat 10-man Atletico Madrid. (AFP)
Updated 27 April 2018
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Profligate Arsenal punished by 10-man Atletico Madrid

  • The Gunners played with an extra man for over 80 minutes
  • Arsenal now need to become the first away team to score in 12 matches at Atletico’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium next week

LONDON: Arsenal’s hopes of sending outgoing manager Arsene Wenger off with a trophy suffered a major blow as they could only draw 1-1 with 10-man Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Europa League semifinal on Thursday.
The Gunners played with an extra man for over 80 minutes at the Emirates Stadium, with Sime Vrsaljko’s early red card handing them the initiative.
However, they were made to rue a host of missed chances before and after Alexandre Lacazette headed them in front on the hour mark.
Atletico coach Diego Simeone was also sent to the stands shortly after Vrsaljko’s dismissal, but the Spaniards resisted manfully and pounced when their chance came as Antoine Griezmann prodded home a vital away goal eight minutes from time.
Arsenal now need to become the first away team to score in 12 matches at Atletico’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium next week if Wenger’s last game in charge is to be the final in his homeland in Lyon on May 16.
Moreover, Arsenal’s hopes of Champions League football next season also hang on becoming the first side other than Real Madrid to eliminate Atletico from Europe for five seasons.
There was a far more highly-charged atmosphere for Wenger’s penultimate home game in charge than there had been for last weekend’s game against West Ham United.
And the hosts were given plenty of encouragement early on, even when still up against Atletico’s full complement.
Lacazette volleyed off the outside of the post and forced Jan Oblak into the first of a series of fine saves with a header from close range.
Vrsaljko had been booked within two minutes for bringing down Jack Wilshere.

And the Croatian left his side a man light after just 10 minutes when French referee Clement Turpin showed no leniency for another late challenge on Lacazette.
Moments later, Simeone was also dismissed by the officious referee for taking his protests too far when an Arsenal player wasn’t booked for what he thought was a similar foul.
Atletico’s excellent defensive record is what has carried them to five European semifinals in seven seasons under Simeone.
The visitors battened down the hatches with 10 men, but were reliant on Oblak to keep them in the tie.
Wilshere headed straight at Oblak when unmarked at the back post at the end of a flowing Arsenal move.
And the Slovenian then spread himself well with an outstretched leg to deny Danny Welbeck.
Having weathered the Gunners’ early storm, Atletico only began to threaten themselves late in the first half and David Ospina had to be alert to parry a fiercely struck Griezmann shot following a fine run from Thomas Partey.
Atletico retreated ever deeper toward their own goal after the break and were finally punished on the hour mark when Wilshere’s deep cross found Lacazette rising above Lucas Hernandez to head in his seventh goal in seven games.
However, the French international and Arsenal could have had more.
Laczette’s dangerous ball across goal found no takers before he headed another good opportunity wide.
And Arsenal paid heavily for their profligacy, and some comical defending, when Atletico grabbed a vital away goal on 82 minutes.
Griezmann outmuscled French international team-mate Laurent Koscielny and then benefited from a slip by Shkodran Mustafi after his initial effort had been saved by Ospina to prod his 27th goal of the season into the roof of the net.
There was still time for Oblak to show why Griezmann isn’t the only Atletico player wanted by Europe’s elite with a spectacular one-handed save to turn Aaron Ramsey’s header behind and keep Los Rojiblancos on course for another European final.