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The Czech Republic defeat Spain 3-2 to win the 2012 Davis Cup title
Radek Stepanek and Tomas Berdych claimed a hard fought 3-2 triumph for the Czech Republic against Spain in the 100th Davis Cup final in Prague.
World No.5 David Ferrer began the tie with a win for defending champions Spain with a straightforward 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 defeat of Stepanek to give the visitors the lead.
Czech No.1 Berdych levelled proceedings with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-3 victory over Nicolas Almagro.
Down two sets to one the Spanish No.2 raced into a 5-0 lead in the crucial fourth set tie-break before levelling the match with an ace.
However in the decider Berdych saved two break points in the opening game and then got the better of three consecutive breaks of serve to seal a hard earned win in just under four hours.
Day two saw a hard fought four set winor Berdych and Stepanek over Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez, recent winners of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.
The Czech pairing hit back from a set down to come through 3-6, 7-5, 7-5, 6-3 and give the hosts a crucial advantage heading into the final day.
In the clash of the No.1s it was Ferrer who won his 76th singles match of the year by sweeping past a tiring Berdych 6-2, 6-3, 7-5. With matters level at two rubbers all the stage was set for a thrilling conclusion.
Heading into the deciding rubber Stepanek had won two of three previous meetings with Almagro but it was the Spaniard who prevailed in their first round clash at September’s US Open.
Stepanek edged the first set 6-4 after a break in the tenth game. In a dramatic second set Almagro led 4-2 before losing the break and then fended off four set points for Stepanek to force a tie-break.
Despite a fall on the opening point, the Czech No.2 roared through the breaker 7-0 to give the hosts a two sets to love advantage.
Almagro struck back with a strong third set and a break in the sixth games proved to be decisive. Two sets to one to the Czechs.
Former World No.8 Stepanek broke in the second game of the fourth set and maintained the advantage to the delight of the home crowd.
Serving for the title at 5-3 the 33 year-old converted his first match point after three hours and 52 minutes when Almagro netted his final backhand.
Victory gives the Czech team a second Davis Cup crown but first as an independent nation. They are the first country to simultaneously hold the Davis Cup, Fed Cup and Hopman Cup titles. Read about the Czech Republic’s recent Fed Cup victory here
Stat Attack – Czech Republic
Stat Attack – Spain
2 – Cilic, Djokovic, Nadal, Wawrinka
No.1 (7) Nadal (Doha, Rio De Janeiro), Wawrinka (Chennai), Del Potro (Sydney), Fognini (Vina Del Mar), Ferrer (Buenos Aires), Nishikori (Memphis)No.2 (2) Djokovic (Indian Wells, Miami)No.3 (3) Isner (Auckland), Berdych (Rotterdam), Gulbis (Marseille)No.4 (3) Federer (Dubai), Dimitrov (Acapulco), Verdasco (Houston)No.5 (2) Cilic (Zagreb), Monfils (Montpellier)No.7 (1) Cilic (Delray Beach)No.8 (2) Wawrinka (AUSTRALIAN OPEN), Garcia-Lopez (Casablanca)Unseeded (2) Hewitt (Brisbane), Delbonis (Sao Paulo)
61 - Delbonis (Sao Paulo)
23 – Wawrinka (Chennai)
64 – Dimitrov (Acapulco)
13 - Wawrinka
24 – Federer
329 - Ivo Karlovic
71 – Australian Open 1st round Simon bt Brands 6-7(4), 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 16-14
12 games - 6-0, 6-0 on 1 occasion
2 - Rio Open SF Nadal bt Andujar 2-6 6-3 7-6(10)Nadal saved 2 mp 3rd set tie-break
Delbonis (Sao Paulo) 23 years, 4 months & 15 days
Hewitt (Brisbane) 32 years, 10 months & 11 days
2 - Ivanovic, Li, S.Williams
No.1 (4) Li (Shenzhen), S.Williams (Brisbane, Miami), Cibulkova (Acapulco) No.2 (2) Ivanovic (Auckland, Monterray)No.3 (1) Zakopalova (Florianopolis)No.4 (3) Li (AUSTRALIAN OPEN), Makarova (Pattaya City), Cornet (Katowice)No.5 (2) Nara (Rio De Janeiro), Garcia (Bogota)No.7 (1) Halep (Doha)No.14 (1) Petkovic (Charleston)No.20 (1) Pennetta (Indian Wells)Unseeded (2) Pavlyuchenkova (Paris), V.Williams (Dubai)Qualifier (2) Murgurza (Hobart), Pironkova (Sydney)
107 – Pironkova (Sydney)
22 – Murgurza (Hobart)
58 – Pavlyuchenkova (Paris), Cornet (Katowice)
13 – Li
21 – Li, A.Radwanska
146 - S.Williams
40 – Australian Open 2nd round - Hantuchova bt Karolina Pliskova 6-3, 3-6, 12-10
12 games - 6-0, 6-0 on 5 occasions
1 - Australian Open 3rd round: Li bt Safarova 1-6, 7-6(2), 6-3 Li saved saved 1 mp 5-6 2nd set 1 - Katowice Final: Cornet bt Giorgi 7-6(3), 5-7, 7-5 Cornet saved 1 mp 4-5 3rd set
Murgurza (Hobart) 20 yrs, 3 months & 3 days
V.Williams (Dubai) 33 yrs, 8 months & 5 days
Statistics sourced with the help of the ATP and WTA.