In Sports News this Monday: Krpálek becomes first Czech judo world champion; Synek is again world champion in men’s single sculls; Kvitová fails to break US Open hoodoo with third round exit; Berdych through to last 16 at Flushing Meadows; Vaidišová plots comeback; and golden generation of hockey players pay tribute to coach Hlinka.
Lukáš Krpálek has become the first Czech ever to become world champion in the judo. The 23-year-old two-time European championship took gold in the 100kg category at the Judo World Championships in Russia’s Chelyabinsk after making fewer mistakes than Jose Armenteros of Cuba in Sunday’s final. However, Krpálek said his most important victory had come in a semi-final bout with Tagir Khaybulaev of Russia, who had been favourite to lift the trophy.
“He’s the Olympic champion, a world champion and a European champion. On top of that, he was at home. It was a very difficult match and I had had a poor record with him, losing all three times we met. So I’m glad that finally I finally beat him and I hope that’s how things continue.”
Another Czech who proved he was the best on the planet at the weekend was Ondřej Synek, who came first in the men’s single sculls at the World Rowing Championships in Amsterdam. It’s the fifth time in a row Synek has topped the podium in the event.
Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitová has again failed to break her hoodoo at tennis’s US Open. She has never got past the fourth round at Flushing Meadows and this time out exited in the third. Seeded third, Kvitová was sent packing in straight sets by qualifier Aleksandra Krunic, who is ranked 145th in the world. The Czech said everything had gone wrong for her against the Serb.
“I don’t know. It was hard for me in general. She returned a lot of balls and I somehow wasn’t able to win the rallies. My serve didn’t help much either. I really tried, I fought for every ball and gave my all, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough. She played incredibly, things didn’t go my way – and that’s the way it ended.”
The leading Czech men’s player, Tomáš Berdych, is still at the US Open after making light work of Teymuraz Gabashvili of Russia in the third round. A 6-4 6-2 6-3 win on Sunday sets up a meeting between Berdych and Dominic Thiem of Austria for a place in the quarter-finals.
Nicole Vaidišová is on the comeback trail. The one-time world number seven has signed up to take part in an ITF tournament in Albuquerque. Today still only 25, Vaidišová quit four years ago saying she had lost her love of tennis.
The stars of the 1998 Olympic ice hockey winning Czech team rolled back the years on Saturday, taking part in an exhibition game against a selection from World Championships winning sides from the 1999–2001 period in Jihlava. The match, held in honour of late coach Ivan Hlinka, ended 7:7.