| BUENOS AIRES, Sept 14
BUENOS AIRES, Sept 14 A tearful Juan Martin del
Potro could barely speak in an emotional courtside interview
after beating Radek Stepanek 6-4 6-4 6-2 to put Argentina 1-0 up
against Czech Republic in their Davis Cup semi-final on Friday.
Del Potro, torn between what is best for his career and his
desire to play for his country, had considered pulling out of
the tie at Parque Roca because of pains in his left wrist but he
managed to hold out for the win.
"How I suffer playing, just for you, a lot for you, I played
to thank the fans for their affection, the support they give
me," the Olympic bronze medallist, choking back the tears, told
"The important thing is for me to be here... We all have
pains, more or less bad... I know the one up there is looking
after me," added the world number eight after the match played
to a backdrop of raucous, soccer-style chanting by the home
Stepanek, who won in three of their four previous meetings,
said he did not see his opponent struggling at any point in the
match and suggested the issue of Del Potro's wrist might have
been a bit of pre-match gamesmanship.
Del Potro had to save four break points in the eighth game
before he broke the Czech. He gave away one break point in the
second set but broke back in the next game and again in the
In the decider, Del Potro broke in the first and fifth games
and settled the rubber on his serve with his first match point
when Stepanek went wide with a return.
Czech world number six Tomas Berdych faces Juan Monaco in
the second singles on the clay court at the Mary Teran de Weiss
The winning team will meet holders Spain or the United
States in the final. Argentina will be looking to reach their
second consecutive final, fourth since 2006 and fifth overall.
The Czechs, finalists in 2009, have won the trophy once as
Czechoslovakia in 1980.
(Reporting by Rex Gowar, editing by Pritha Sarkar)