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24 July 2013

Czech Republic name full-strength squad for semifinals


Photo: Paul ZimmerTomas Berdych and Lukas Rosol (CZE)

World No. 6 Tomas Berdych will lead Davis Cup by BNP Paribas title holders Czech Republic in its semifinal clash with Argentina on 13-15 September at the O2 Arena in Prague.

Lukas Rosol (world No. 40), Radek Stepanek (No. 47), Jiri Vesely (No. 98) and Jan Hajek (No. 133), complete Jaroslav Navratil's full-strength squad.

Czech Republic booked its place in the semifinals by beating Switzerland in a historic first round tie in which the doubles match was the second longest of all time (after Isner and Mahut's Wimbledon marathon), before defeating Kazakhstan in the quarterfinals as Rosol became the Czech hero by winning his two singles rubbers, including the deciding fourth rubber.

Argentina, the only nation to have lost four Davis Cup finals without winning the title, have been dealt a particularly tough draw in 2013. Though drawn against Germany in the first round, Martin Jaite’s men secured a comprehensive 5-0 victory against the Europeans in Buenos Aires to set up an even tougher quarterfinal tie against a powerful French team.

Again the Argentines prevailed, this time on a nail-biting deciding fifth rubber that saw Carlos Berlocq overcome Gilles Simon in four sets.

Czech Republic lifted the Davis Cup trophy in 2012 for the second time in its history and the first time as an independent nation. The nation's first victory came in 1980, when they played under the flag of Czechoslovakia.

The Czech Davis Cup team have beaten Argentina in four of the five previous meetings between the two countries with the only South American win coming in 2005 in Buenos Aires.

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