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Sports briefs: Czech Republic on verge of Davis Cup title
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

tennis • The Czech Republic won the doubles Saturday in Prague to take a 2-1 lead over defending champion Spain in the Davis Cup final, moving one victory away from its first title as an independent nation.

Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek rallied to beat Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez 3-6, 7-5, 7-5, 6-3 to take the edge going into Sunday's reverse singles.

The sixth-ranked Berdych could clinch the best-of-five series in the first reverse singles Sunday with a victory over David Ferrer, but Ferrer is wrapping up the best season of his career in which he won a tour-best seven tournament titles. He has a 5-3 career record against Berdych. Stepanek takes on Nicolas Almagro in the final match.

• Retired three-time French Open champion Gustavo Kuerten beat Novak Djokovic 7-6 (9), 7-5 in an exhibition match in Rio de Janeiro. More than 10,000 people packed Maracanazinho Arena for the indoor match on clay.

Choi takes lead in LPGA finale

golf • U.S. Women's Open champion Na Yeon Choi was steady after a careless three-putt bogey early in her third round at the Titleholders in Naples, Fla., and finished with a 3-under 69 to take a one-shot lead over Ai Miyazato into the final round of the LPGA Tour season. Choi limited her mistakes, even as those around her were struggling in a tough wind at The TwinEagles Club.

Miyazato quickly gave up her one-shot lead at the start of the round when a chip rolled back to her feet beyond the par-5 second hole and led to double bogey.

Choi hit a hybrid 5-wood to 15 feet for birdie on the par-3 17th and closed with a two-putt for par to reach 12-under 204.

Vettel on pole for U.S. Grand Prix

auto racing • Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel secured the pole position for the U.S. Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, putting him in the perfect spot to chase his third consecutive world championship.

Driving in the new $400 million Circuit of the Americas, Vettel dominated three practice sessions before securing the pole Saturday with a blistering round of qualifying. Vettel claimed the spot with a time of 1 minute, 35.657 seconds.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso will start eighth Sunday after running 1.643 seconds slower than Vettel. Alonso trails Vettel by 10 points in the drivers' championship. If Vettel wins Sunday, Alonso must finish no worse than fourth to force the points battle into the final race of the season next week in Brazil.

Sunday's race with be Formula One's first in the U.S. since racing at Indianapolis in 2007.

From wire reports

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