(November 18, 2012) The Czech Republic won their first Davis Cup title as an independent nation on Sunday at home in Prague at the O2 Arena when Radek Stepanek won the fifth and deciding rubber over Spain’s Nicolas Almagro 6-4, 7-6(0), 3-6, 6-3 to claim the victory over the defending champion three rubbers to two.
The Czechs’ only Davis Cup title came in 1980 as part of Czechoslovakia which split in 1993.
The Czechs completed a rare feat in these two weeks – the women won the Fed Cup title in the same arena. The last country to win both Fed Cup and David Cup in the same year was the United States in 1990. The Czech become the first country to win the Hopman Cup, Fed Cup and Davis Cup in the same year.
“I was dreaming about it my whole life,” the 37th ranked Stepanek said about the win in an on-court interview.
David Ferrer kept Spain’s hopes alive in the opening rubber of the day, demolishing Tomas Berdych 6-2, 6-3, 7-5 to even the tie at 2-2. It was Berdych’s first Davis Cup loss of the year, Ferrer’s 76th match win of the year to overtake Novak Djokovic the ATP Tour.
Ferrer is unbeaten in Davis Cup since 2010.
“I’m very happy with my game,” Ferrer said. “I played very focused, very aggressive. I started really good. Maybe the key was I began really good.”
“I was always few steps behind him,” said Berdych. “He was just playing too good today.”
Stepanek broke Almagro in the 10th game to claim the first set 6-4. Stepanek missed four set point chances in the second, but claimed the set 7-6 crushing Almagro in the tiebreak 7-0.
Almagro put himself back into the match overriding a 0-40 start in the third set to capture it 6-3.
“I was playing very aggressive today. I wanted be the one who is active, who is controlling the game,” Stepanek said. “It paid off, even though I lost the third set. I had no doubt I was on the way.”
The serve-and-volleying Czech soared to a 3-0 fourth set lead and served out the match 6-3 for the victory in the fourth much to the delight of most of the 14,500 spectators.
Stepanek at 33, became the oldest player to win a deciding fifth rubber in Davis Cup Final history. He is only the second player over the age of 30 to win a deciding fifth rubber in the Davis Cup Final. The last time this happened was 100 years ago in 1912, when 31 year-old James Parke playing for the British Isles,defeated Rodney Heath of Australasia in Melbourne.
“Davis Cup champions! That’s amazing,” said a joyful Stepanek. “We made history today and I hope the entire nation will be celebrating with us.”
“There’s nothing more to achieve,” Berdych exclaimed. “I have nothing to say more. This is a moment we never forget.”
WORLD GROUP FINAL
CZECH REPUBLIC defeated SPAIN 3-2
Venue: O2 Arena, Prague (hard – indoors)
David Ferrer (ESP) d. Radek Stepanek (CZE) 63 64 64
Tomas Berdych (CZE) d. Nicolas Almagro (ESP) 63 36 63 67(5) 63
Tomas Berdych/Radek Stepanek (CZE) d. Marcel Granollers/Marc Lopez (ESP) 36 75 75 63
David Ferrer (ESP) d. Tomas Berdych (CZE) 62 63 75
Radek Stepanek (CZE) d. Nicolas Almagro (ESP) 64 76(0) 36 63