OSTRAVA, Czech Republic (AP) — Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek won the doubles for the defending champion Czech Republic to take a 2-1 lead over the Netherlands in the Davis Cup first round on Saturday.
The Czechs defeated Robin Haase and Jean-Julien Rojer 7-5, 1-6, 7-6 (2), 7-6 (4) in almost four hours on an indoor hard court at CEZ Arena to improve to a 15-1 record in the cup doubles.
The Dutch were trailing 2-0 in the fourth set before coming back and saving three break points at 5-5 after Haase double-faulted twice but the home pair converted their second match point in the tiebreaker with Haase sending a volley too long.
"It was the toughest game we have played," Berdych said. "It was extremely hard for us. They were excellent."
It was the first defeat in the cup doubles for Haase and Rojer following four victories.
"We had our chances but our opponents were unbelievable," Stepanek said "We had to fight till the end."
The Czechs, seeking their third straight Davis Cup title, are one win away from the quarterfinals while the Dutch must win both reverse singles on Sunday to reach the quarters for the first time since 2005.
On Sunday, Berdych plays Haase then Stepanek faces Igor Sijsling.
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