The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Stepanek opens Davis Cup for champion Czech Republic against Haase of Netherlands

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OSTRAVA, Czech Republic - Radek Stepanek has recovered from a neck injury to open the Czech Republic's quest for the third straight Davis Cup title by playing the opening singles match against Robin Haase of the Netherlands in their first-round series.

Stepanek retired from his Australian Open's first-round match against Blaz Kavcic in the fourth set.

Thursday's draw also pits Australian Open semifinalist Tomas Berdych against Igor Sijsling.

Berdych and Stepanek teamed up to beat Spain in the 2012 final and did the same to defeat Serbia in November to retain the title.

In Saturday's doubles, the Czech pair of Lukas Rosol and Jiri Vesely will face Thiemo de Bakker and Jean-Julien Rojer.

Reverse singles are scheduled for Sunday.

The winner will face either Canada or Japan in April's quarterfinals.

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