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Berdych Gives Czechs Advantage; Serbia On Top Versus Germany

Dusseldorf, Germany

Berdych© Bongarts/Getty ImagesTomas Berdych got Czech Republic off to a strong start in its final round robin tie.

World No. 7 Tomas Berdych gave Czech Republic a 1-0 lead in its final Red Group tie against Argentina at the Power Horse World Team Cup in Dusseldorf on Thursday.

"It was a tough one today, but finally had a good end," Berdych told "He made me fight until the end. It was a pretty good test for me."

Berdych improved to 31-8 on the season with a 6-1, 6-7(2), 6-3 victory over this year's VTR Open finalist Carlos Berlocq of Argentina. Berdych is making his sixth tournament appearance at the Rochusclub (2005-08, '10, '12), where he has a 15-4 record. The winner of this tie will advance to Saturday's final.

"We are the No. 1 seed here, so we're looking forward to going far in the draw," said Berdych. "It's a good thing that I'm able to keep winning. Hopefully Radek will be strong tomorrow and we will make the final."

In the other Red Group tie, United States took a 1-0 lead over Japan after Ryan Harrison hit eight aces past Tatsuma Ito for a 6-2, 7-6(5) win in 85 minutes. Harrison partnered with James Blake to defeat Ito and Bumpei Sato 4-6, 6-0, 10-3 to give the Americans their first team victory this week. Go Soeda later edged Andy Roddick 7-5, 7-6(4) to put Japan on the board in a dead rubber. 

Serbia got off to a fine start against host nation Germany in a battle of undefeated teams in the Blue Group.

Former World No. 12 Viktor Troicki avenged his loss to Florian Mayer at the championship last year by hitting 12 aces in a 7-6(6), 6-3 victory in one hour and 34 minutes.

"During the first set, I was by far the better player," said Mayer. "It’s my own fault, because I didn’t convert the three set points. That’s the way things go in tennis."

In the other Blue Group tie, Croatia's Ivan Dodig recorded his second straight win over Igor Kunitsyn of Russia 7-6(0), 6-4 in one hour and 41 minutes. The World No. 75 hit 10 aces for his ninth match win of the season (9-15 overall).

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Dusseldorf Open, Dusseldorf WTC

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