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Saturday, Sep 19th

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Spain has secured the first victory of Hopman Cup 2013 with a tense two rubbers to one win over South Africa at the Perth Arena. The highly credentialed Spanish pair of Anabel Medina Garrigues and Fernando Verdasco combined well to dispose of South Africa's Chanelle Scheepers and Kevin Anderson in three sets, 6-4 6-7(3) [10-8].

Earlier in the session Anderson gave South Africa the lead defeating Verdasco in straight sets, 7-6(5) 6-4. Spain hit back to level the tie at one all with Medina-Garrigues proving too strong for Scheepers, 6-4 6-2.

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Sevilla's Spanish hitman Alvaro Negredo is back in the sights of the English clubs as the January window fast approaches, with the La Liga club's perilous financial state forcing them to sell off their star players. Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur are reportedly back on the trail of the 27 year old attacker who has netted eleven goals this season, although Sevilla's asking fee of £17m will prove to be a major stumbling block.

Negredo has been a target for the English clubs for a long time now, with even Liverpool tracking him a while ago. But the striker has spurned advances from outside the La Liga until now and Tottenham will have to make a fairly convincing bid to bring him to the Isles. Sevilla have had to live with reduced expectations in recent years after an extremely successful spell and Negredo might be tempted to experience European football once again, albeit with either Spurs or Arsenal.

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The Qantas Women's Sevens have kicked off the first round of the inaugural IRB Women's Sevens World Series with a fourth-place finish in Dubai, following a 17-5 loss to Spain in their final match.

The Australian women opened the scoring in the third-place playoff, with a try to Emilee Cherry, but Spain took control of the match and crossed twice in the first half and once again in the second.

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radek_stepanekThe year was 1980, the venue was Sportovni Hall in Prague, and the inspiration was provided by 20-year old Ivan Lendl, who almost single-handedly led Czechoslovakia to their maiden Davis Cup title. The clock fast-forwards 29 years and the now separated Czech Republic return to the Davis Cup Final for the first time in their history, only to be pummelled 5-0 by a dominant Spanish side, who were that year also the defending champions.

Back to the Future, and the 100th Davis Cup Final in the history of the sport returns to Prague where the Czech Republic held off the challenge of Spain to end the opening day of the tie on level pegging. Saturday belonged to the Czechs as Radek Stepanek and Tomas Berdych played for the second time in as many days to upset the Spanish team of Marc Lopez and Marcel Granollers, winners of the ATP World Tour Finals earlier this month in London.

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The Czech Republic have taken what could be a decisive 2-1 lead in the Davis Cup Final against defending champions Spain by winning the crucial Saturday Doubles encounter in 4 sets.

Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek unsurprisingly stepped into the Czech side for this match, replacing the previously listed duo of Ivo Minar and Lukas Rosol who in all fairness aren't really in the same league as their more illustrious compatriots.

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There was no separating Spain and the Czech Republic after the opening day of the Davis Cup Final in Prague with both higher ranked players winning the opening singles encounters for their respective sides. David Ferrer continued his exceptional run this year to overcome Czech veteran Radek Stepanek in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in a match that was probably a tad more competitive than the scoreline suggests. The home fans were then treated to a humdinger as Tomas Berdych saw off the challenge of Nicolas Almagro in a thrilling five set encounter 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-3 to draw the hosts level.

Ferrer got the defending champions off to a perfect start, breaking Stepanek late in the first set in the 8th game before holding on to his serve in the following game to wrap it up comfortably enough. The Spaniard stretched his run of games early in the second set, going up a break, but Stepanek battled back to draw level midway through the set. Ferrer though quickly regained his advantage and wasted little time in opening up a 2-set to love lead.

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The 2014 World Cup qualifiers continued to produce fireworks across Europe as the continental giants took the field for the last round of qualifiers for the calendar year. England will still have to turn out later tonight as their clash against Poland in Warsaw was abandoned due to a water-logged pitch caused by heavy rainfall, with the players unable to even conduct their pre-match training routine.

Events at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin more than made up for the dampener at Warsaw as Sweden produced one of the greatest comebacks in recent times as they clawed back from being 4-0 down to draw 4-4 against a shell-shocked Germany. Miroslav Klose’s early brace combined with Per Mertesacker’s goal before half-time gave the home side a commanding 3-0 lead, which was further consolidated by Mesut Ozil’s strike ten minutes into the 2nd half.

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