Czech Republic claim Davis Cup

Spain relinquished their Davis Cup crown tonight after veteran Radek Stepanek guided the Czech Republic to a stunning triumph in Prague.

The hosts came into the final day with a 2-1 advantage which was clinically wiped out by David Ferrer’s straight-sets win over Tomas Berdych.

But 33-year-old Stepanek won the decisive rubber against the higher-ranked Nicolas Almagro to hand the Czechs their first global crown as an independent nation since the former Czechoslovakia split in 1993.

Ferrer wasted little time in levelling the tie with a wonderful performance.

A match-up between the world number five and number six ought to have been a close-run affair, however it was anything but as the Spaniard charged away with the contest.

A jaded and nervy-looking Berdych had no answer to Ferrer’s greater consistency and was powerless to prevent the 30-year-old winning 6-2 6-3 7-5 in two hours and 25 minutes.

“I played very aggressive,” said Ferrer, who felt the Czechs had perhaps asked too much of their number one.

“Berdych played a lot of matches [this weekend], five sets with Nicolas, yesterday four sets.

“I played very focused and started very good. My first serve and forehand were very good; I hit a lot of winners. It was my best match of the year.”

That set the stage for a decisive fifth rubber with the smart money switching to Spain with Almagro, ranked 11 in the world, up against the Czech’s 37th-ranked Stepanek.

But the Czech broke at 5-4 to win the first set and, after they exchanged breaks, took the second on a tie-break to love.

To his credit, Almagro responded well to claim the third set on a solitary break but Stepanek was not to be denied and raced out to a 3-0 lead in the fourth.

His early break was to prove decisive as despite Almagro’s best efforts he held on to win 6-4 7-6 (7/0) 3-6 6-3 before bursting into tears as his opponent found the net on match point.

Stepanek’s win means the Czech Republic have become the first nation to win the Hopman Cup, Fed Cup and Davis Cup in the same year.

More in this Section

Everyone's impressed with Jamie Vardy as he breaks record with goals in 11 consecutive games

Barca's lethal front three set up win over Sociedad; Atletico keep pace with them

Leicester have to settle for a draw despite Jamie Vardy's record-breaking goal

Connacht earn first win over Munster at Thomond Park in 29 years

You might also like

Today's Stories

More injury problems for Nemo ahead of Clonmel clash

Klopp praises “important” Lucas ahead of Swansea clash

St Mary's secure comfortable victory over Carrigaline in Killarney

Jose Mourinho: Tottenham have it easy


BIG READ: Sexism and fear keeping women away from Hollywood's top jobs

Eat your way to an illness free winter

Butt out when Dad’s in charge and let him do it his way

5 tips for a seamless desk-to-dance floor transformation this festive season

More From The Irish Examiner