|Posted on November 17, 2012 at 2:10 PM|
Czechs Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek will face the top Spanish duo in Saturday's doubles match at the Davis Cup final, with both sides hoping to move their country one win away from the title.
Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez, who became the first Spanish pair to win the doubles title at the ATP Tour Finals for 37 years on Monday, will look to end the Czechs' momentum after Berdych levelled proceedings at 1-1 late on Friday.
DAVIS CUP WORLD GROUP FINAL 2012
CZECHS TAKE 2-1 LEAD WITH DOUBLES WIN
Prague, Czech Republic
by ATP Staff | 17.11.2012
Host nation Czech Republic will take a 2-1 lead over five-time champion Spain into Sunday’s reverse singles of the Davis Cup final in Prague after Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek teamed up to secure a dramatic 3-6, 7-5, 7-5, 6-3 victory over Barclays ATP World Tour Finals doubles champions Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez on Saturday.
“It's incredible. It's just one point. We'll do everything for that,” said Berdych. “I'm ready to do it tomorrow. 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.”
Added Stepanek, “We know what we are capable to do in Davis Cup. And we also know that the doubles points matter and we played together so many times, so we have all the experience we can have.”
The Czech Republic is looking to avenge the 5-0 whitewash defeat it suffered against Spain in the 2009 Davis Cup final and win the coveted ITF men’s team title for the first time since 1980. World No. 6 Berdych will have the chance to claim victory for his nation when he faces No. 5-ranked David Ferrer in the first match on Sunday. Should Ferrer level the tie for Spain, it will be decided in a fifth and final rubber featuring Radek Stepanek against Nicolas Almagro.
Flying high from their victory at The O2 last weekend, Granollers and Lopez made a strong start to the match, capitalising on two Stepanek double faults to earn a 3-0 lead. The Spaniards went onto close out the opener with a love service hold from Granollers.
Breaks were exchanged early in the second set before the Czechs dug deep to claim a crucial break of serve in the 12th game. Lopez rallied from a 0/40 deficit on serve, but a netted backhand volley from Granollers gave the Czechs a fourth set point and they converted as Stepanek hit a forehand volley winner to level the match.
In a like scenario at the close of the third set, Lopez again found his serve coming under pressure. A telling Berdych return to the baseline of the Spaniard engineered two set points for the host nation at 15/40 and they capitalised on the second with a backhand volley winner from Berdych.
With the momentum and the support of a raucous home crowd, the Czech team broke Granollers to love in the sixth game of the fourth set. The Spaniards fended off two match points as Berdych served at 5-3, 40/15, but the Czechs converted their third opportunity as Berdych smashed away a high return after three hours and 19 minutes.
The 27-year-old Berdych improved to an impressive 16-1 record in Davis Cup doubles rubbers. He and Stepanek are unbeaten in the seven ties they have played together since the 2009 final, when they fell to Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco.
In Friday’s singles rubbers, Ferrer had given Spain a 1-0 lead courtesy of a straight-sets win over Stepanek, before Berdych pulled the Czechs level with a five-set win over Nicolas Almagro that finished at close to midnight local time.
Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek gave the Czechs a 2-1 lead going into Sunday's reverse singles
Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek in Davis Cup Doubles action
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Czech Republic's Tomas Berdych, left, and his teammate Radek Stepanek, rightt, celebrate after winning their Davis Cup finals tennis doubles match against Spain's Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012. Berdych and Stepanek won the match and gave Czech Republic a 2-1 lead.
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DAVIS CUP BY BNP PARIBAS WORLD GROUP FINAL: SPAIN v CZECH REPUBLIC
November 17, 2012
PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
BERDYCH STEPANEK/Granollers Lopez
3 6, 7 5, 7 5, 6 3
THE MODERATOR: We welcome the Czech team. We'll start with questions.
Q. The Spanish team plays doubles in a very different way than the other ones. How long did it take you to adapt to their game? What was the solution?
TOMAS BERDYCH: For me it took one set actually. Yeah, as you said, they play very different style.
What was the solution? The solution was that we just get used to it and we start to play our game, and it shows the result that we won the next three sets.
RADEK STEPANEK: I think, you know, I gave with my first service game the guys a lot of juice into their game and they started the first set really playing incredible.
I felt like they came really on a high from the Masters with a lot of confidence. We said to each other that we have to stay tough, stay with them, that if they keep playing like that, then we just shake their hands and we will leave the court.
But we got used to it. We were raising our game, I think, slowly getting in control, winning much easier our service games. We got to our game and were then in control.
Q. From the moment you broke their serve in the second set, it looked like you were in control of the game. Is that how you felt and saw the match?
TOMAS BERDYCH: Yeah, as I said, we start to play our game since the second set. We made our chances on their serve. We break them. We won the set. A similar thing in the third. Same in the fourth set.
We were always a bit ahead. That's why we give them much more pressure than they give to us. You know, that's it.
Q. Tomas, can you say to us something which we cannot know about the feeling you have playing with someone like Stepanek in doubles, which is someone who knows so well the tactics, is able to play some wonderful shots like he does? It's something unique.
TOMAS BERDYCH: Yes. I mean, the only thing I can say is 2 1.
Q. What is the problem that doubles specialists presents to yourselves, top singles specialists? Is there an advantage over you or not?
RADEK STEPANEK: I think, first of all, you're seeing the Spanish team as a doubles team. Marcel, I think he's top 30 in the world. Don't underestimate his singles. He's playing very good singles, what he proved this year. They had an incredible doubles season as well. He's one of the few who plays both.
Definitely I think when the top singles guys are playing doubles, you feel it. You know that there is somebody with the highest quality of tennis you can have. It's always something extra which gives the advantage to the guys compared to the doubles players. That's what I think.
Also having Tomas by my side, he's such a great player, No.6 in the world. That's what he proved today also, what he's proving on the doubles court, even he's not playing that much doubles.
Q. How important is it to go into the final day, especially from a confidence point of view, 2 1 ahead in this tie?
TOMAS BERDYCH: Well, this is the best possible solution that we can have from those circumstances that we went through the weekend. We are leading 2 1.
But it's still not over. We still need one more point. You know, it's still far to go. I mean, we expecting two very hard matches tomorrow with very strong opponents.
We will go one by one. But definitely we are in the better position than them.
Q. Radek, with the possibility of Tomas losing against Ferrer high.
RADEK STEPANEK: That's what you think. I will stop you immediately.
TOMAS BERDYCH: Can you start the question again, please.
RADEK STEPANEK: Think better, okay, because you will not get the answer.
Q. Sorry for my English.
RADEK STEPANEK: I know what you mean.
We are not playing on 'ifs', what's going to happen. We believe in ourselves. I believe in Tomas, same as he does to me. To be speculating about Tomas has no sense because there will be Tomas playing first and then what happens will happen.
Q. How are you both feeling physically after today?
TOMAS BERDYCH: Well, great. I mean, we're leading 2 1. That's the best possible thing. So, you know, this give us a lot of extra energy. We are here to be tough for the whole three days and ready for it.
Yeah, I mean, we will do everything what we possibly can. That's it. That's our goal for tomorrow.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports