Czechs take 2-1 lead over Spain in Davis Cup
PRAGUE (AP) — The Czech Republic won the doubles Saturday 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.
Berdych and Stepanek improved their Davis Cup doubles record to 12-1 by converting their third match point in front of more than 13,000 fans at the O2 Arena, who blew trumpets, beat drums and cheered loudly between points.
"It's incredible," said Berdych, who closed out the match with an overhead volley. "It's just one point; we'll do everything for that."
The sixth-ranked Berdych can clinch the best-of-five series in the first reverse singles Sunday with a victory over David Ferrer.
"It will be as difficult for us as for them," Spain captain Alex Corretja said. "We need to win both. We cannot make a mistake."
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.
"I'm ready to do it tomorrow," Berdych said. "I'll try to come with my strong game, and with the crowd on my back it would be a good combination to make it."
The Czechs are seeking to complete a rare double just two weeks after the women secured the Fed Cup title in the same arena. No country has won both competitions in one year since the United States in 1990.
Spain is looking for its fourth title in five years, while the Czechs' only victory came in 1980 as Czechoslovakia, which split in 1993.