Long gone are the days of the Czech Republic having Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek, the dynamic duo who led the nation to several Davis Cup titles. Now, all the hopes of the Czechs lies in the hand of recent Australian Open quarterfinalist Jiri Lehecka.
Davis Cup Portugal vs Czech Republic
Nuno Borges vs Jiri Lehecka
There’s no doubt Jiri Lehecka is turning into a fine player, having just broken the world’s top 40 for the first time however his record on clay on the main ATP tour has a lot to be desired as of yet, with just four wins to eight losses, so if there’s a surface to play the talented youngster on, it is clay. Borges on the other hand has had his best results on the surface, although mostly on the Challenger circuit. The Portuguese man will try and outlast Lehecka and force him into unforced errors like Stefanos Tsitsipas did in Melbourne but it’s hard to see him having much success with the Czech in good form.
Prediction: Lehecka in 2
Joao Sousa vs Tomas Machac
Head-to-head: Machac 1-0
Although Machac leads the rivalry 1-0, a meeting on the hardcourts of Tokyo at the Olympics in 2021, that is very different to the clay courts of Portugal. Like many Czech men over the years, they come with big games and Joao Sousa has been an expect of breaking down such players on the dirt. Both men are coming in with three consecutive losses but with the home crowd and Sousa’s expertise on the clay, which includes an ATP title in Estoril, the home team should get the win here.
Prediction: Sousa in 2
Nuno Borges vs Tomas Machac
With both men ranked outside of the Top 100 it’s hard to imagine this being a high quality affair. Most likely both men will come into the match with losses in their opening matches so the outcome of this could be huge for the result of the tie. Machac has never beaten a Top 200 player on clay and for good reason, his game just doesn’t work on this surface. Borges will grind down the Czech.
Prediction: Borges in 3
Joao Sousa vs Jiri Lehecka
Head-to-head: Lehecka 1-0
Without a doubt the highlight of the tie with experience taking on youth. The pair met last year on the clay courts of Kitzbuhel with the Czech winning 6-3 in the third. Even though that match was only seven months ago, Lehecka is already a better player now than he was back then whilst the same can’t be said about the Portuguese who’s been falling down the rankings. Take into account the 21-year-old’s form, this should be one he’s expected to win. As long as he doesn’t let the crowd get to him and get inpatient, a Sousa win will be hard to come by.
Prediction: Lehecka in 3
Main Photo from Getty.