Czechs, Serbia take lead

Czechs, Serbia take lead

Czechs, Serbia take lead

Radek Stepanek put the defending champions Czech Republic 1-0 up in their Davis Cup semifinal with Argentina in Prague on Friday, cruising to a 7-6 (7-3), 6-3, 6-2 win over Juan Monaco.

The Czechs are aiming for their third final in five years and Stepanek, fresh from winning the US Open men's doubles title, got them off to a strong start.

After trading games in the first set, the Czech veteran won the tie-break and took that momentum into the next two sets to roll over Monaco, who is Argentina's top player in the absence of World No 7 Juan Martin Del Potro.

World No 5 Tomas Berdych took on Argentine Leonardo Mayer in the second of the opening day's matches.

The Czechs lifted the Cup in 2012 for the first time since Czechoslovakia won in 1980.

Djokovic wins

Serbia took a 1-0 lead over Canada in their semifinal after Novak Djokovic beat Vasek Pospisil 6-2, 6-0, 6-4 in the opening singles rubber at Belgrade.

Roared on by a partisan home crowd in the Belgrade Arena, World No 1 Djokovic strolled to victory in one hour and 44 minutes to put 2010 winners Serbia in the driving seat.

The 26-year old from Belgrade looked a little weary in the first three games after a long-haul flight from New York following his US Open final defeat by second-ranked Rafael Nadal, but it was one-way traffic once he found his feet on the indoor red clay surface.

A small but vociferous band of visiting fans, sporting several large Canadian flags, cheered every winning shot Pospisil could muster but it was the home crowd who were on song after Djokovic wrapped up the match when Pospisil slammed a forehand into the net.

Results: World Group semifinals: At Belgrade: Serbia lead Canada 1-0 (Novak Djokovic bt Vasek Pospisil 6-2, 6-0, 6-4).
At Prague: Czech Republic lead Argentina 1-0 (Radek Stepanek bt Juan Monaco 7-6 (7-3), 6-3, 6-2).

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