Prague: Tomas Berdych led defending champions the Czech Republic to the Davis Cup quarter-finals yesterday as he beat Thiemo de Bakker of the Netherlands in straight sets for an unbeatable 3-1 lead.
Czech Republic's Tomas Berdych celebrates after beating Thiemo de Bakker. Pic/AFP
Berdych, the 28-year-old World No 7 and Czech No 1, swept 139th-ranked De Bakker 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 in an hour and 46 minutes to hand the Czechs a 10th straight Davis Cup win.
The Czech Republic, who won the trophy in 2012 and 2013, will fly to Japan for the quarter-finals in April. Japan beat Canada 4-1 in their first-round tie this weekend.
For yesterday's rubber, the De Bakker replaced tired Dutch No 1 player Robin Haase. De Bakker beat Berdych in Bastad in 2013 but lost in their other two encounters.
On the hardcourt of the CEZ Arena in the eastern city of Ostrava, the Dutchman proved an easy prey in the first set, losing 6-1 in 20 minutes. He showed some resistance in the second but eventually gave up to lose 6-4.
Berdych then regained his dominance to win the third set. Elsewhere, France took an unassailable 3-0 lead over Australia with Richard Gasquet and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga clinching the vital rubber for France with a 5-7, 7-6, 6-2, 7-5 success over Chris Guccione and Lleyton Hewitt.
France were sitting pretty overnight after Gasquet beat Aussie Nick Kyrgios 7-6, 6-2, 6-2, before Tsonga ousted Hewitt 6-3, 6-2, 7-6. France's reward was a Last Eight clash with Germany, who took an unbeatable 3-0 lead over Spain.