Czech Republic has produced many a good tennis players, including the greats like Ivan Lendl and Martina Navratilova. However, the country was marred by communism and the players were not satisfied.
Lendl, who led the Czech team to victory in 1980, was treated unfairly in his country, which resulted his relocation to the western part of the world. His desire to play for the Davis Cup again was not considered, and as a result Czech Republic is still looking for a Davis Cup title since Lendl last led them.
They have been particularly impressive this year, as they find themselves in the semi-finals for the first time since 1996. Along the way, they have dispatched the formidable French side featuring the likes of Tsonga, Monfils, Simon and Gasquet. They have impressed further with their victory over the Argentines in the Quarter Finals.
The team is led by Radek Stepanek, followed by Thomas Berdych in singles, and one of the best doubles players in Lukas Dlouhy including Jan Hajek.
They now face the huge serving Croats in the semis which should offer thrilling tennis with the singles teams comprising of four attacking players.
The history offers nothing to look for as this will be their first Davis Cup meeting. Crowd will be against Czechs as the contest will be in Croatia, but will it put additional pressure on young Cilic remains to be seen.
The major advantage working in Czech's favor would be the surface—Indoor Clay. It is a questionable decision, to say the least, from the home country. Even though the indoor surface will be preferable to both, Cilic and Karlovic, who are no fitness freaks, will they do better on the red dirt?
Karlovic's game is best suited to grass, while Cilic thrives on grass more than clay. The Czech may not prefer this surface, but they do not hate this either—especially Berdych, who has enjoyed some success here.
There will be huge hitting tennis all around with Karlovic's bazookas, and Berdych's ground strokes, while there will be some attractive tennis to watch as well, with Stephanek's serve-n-volley tennis and Cilic's fluid game.
But the red dirt might just prove to be a bad decision by the Croats.
Prediction: Czech republic wins 3-2.
For Clarabella's take on Croatia, please click here.