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Argentina, Czech Republic Split Singles Rubbers

Berdych© AFP/Getty ImagesTomas Berdych rallied past Juan Monaco to level the Czechs with Argentina.

Parque Roca, Buenos Aires, Argentina (clay – outdoor)

World No. 8 Juan Martin del Potro dismissed Radek Stepanek 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 to win the opening singles rubber for Argentina in their Davis Cup semi-final tie against the Czech Republic on Friday. Del Potro converted five of his seven break points to beat Stepanek in two hours and 41 minutes. He improved to 12-4 in Davis Cup play and is 6-2 on clay.

“To play here in my country with this fantastic crowd is amazing for me. I really enjoyed it,” said del Potro. “I played really well. I took all my opportunities to break his serve.”

Tomas Berdych rallied from a break down in the fourth set to defeat Juan Monaco 6-1, 4-6, 1-6, 6-4, 6-4, levelling the Czechs 1-1 with Argentina. The sixth-ranked Berdych took the rubber in four hours and two minutes to remain unbeaten against Monaco in their six head-to-head meetings.

“I had pretty much nothing to do but to believe in myself and that I’m a player in the certain level, and I’m able to turn the matches like this even with a crowd like that,” Berdych said. “Everything that was going for him, I was able to get energy from that and that was the result.”

Argentina is seeking its first Davis Cup crown, having finished runner-up on four occasions. They lost to Spain in last year’s final on the road. The Czech Republic is bidding to reach the final for the second time in four years.

“Tomorrow is a new day,” said Monaco. “I’m going to recover a little bit, practice, try to get some feeling on court again, then I think I have to eat well, recover and just be ready to play and have new revenge I guess on Sunday. That’s the good part of Davis Cup.”

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