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30 April 2012

Argentina select Parque Roca for Davis Cup semifinal


Photo: Sergio LlameraParque Roca, Buenos Aires

The Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group semifinal between Argentina and Czech Republic will be played on clay at the Parque Roca in Buenos Aires, the AAT has announced.

The impressive Parque Roca venue, which officially opened in September 2006, holds over 13,000 spectators and is renowned for creating a cauldron-like Davis Cup atmosphere.

Argentina have now played eight ties at the new stadium and are yet to be defeated. They stretched their unbeaten record to 8-0 with a 4-1 victory over Croatia in the World Group quarterfinals in April.

Czech Republic progressed to the last four with a 4-1 win of their own against Serbia at the O2 Arena in Prague, but team captain Jaroslav Navratil knows that playing on away soil in Buenos Aires will be a harder task.

“Argentina is a very difficult match because they’re one of the best teams in the world, especially at home on clay,” said Navratil, speaking after his team’s victory over Serbia.

The two nations have met on four previous occasions and the Czechs have the upper-hand, leading 3-1 in the head-to-head count. On their last outing, at the CEZ Arena in Ostrava in 2009, Czech Republic triumphed in a tie that was decided in the fifth rubber.

Two of their past meetings have been held in Buenos Aires - with each team posting one win apiece - although these were both before the new Parque Roca stadium was built, so this will be Czech Republic’s first visit to the venue.

Argentina are bidding to reach the Final for the second straight year after finishing runners-up to Spain in 2011. In fact, the Argentines have the unwanted record of reaching the most Finals - four - without winning the title.

Czech Republic reached the Final themselves in 2009 - also losing to Spain - but unlike their opponents they have managed to lift the trophy once before, in 1980, when coincidentally they defeated Argentina in Buenos Aires en route.

The World Group semifinals, which also see Spain host USA, are taking place on 14-16 September.

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