SERBIA 2 CZECH REPUBLIC 3
Congratulations to Czech Republic for winning their second consecutive Davis Cup title .. In a tournament often regarded as the world cup of tennis, Czech won their second successive Davis Cup title after Radek Stepanek beat Dusan Lajovic 6-3 6-1 6-1 to give them a 3-2 victory against the 2010 champions Serbia.
Radek Stepanek wrote his name into the history books as he becomes just the third player in history to win two Davis Cup Final live fifth singles rubbers, and the first man ever to do so on consecutive occasions.
Having led the Czechs to a 3-2 triumph with victory over Nicolas Almagro in the fifth rubber of the 100th Final in Prague last year, the 34-year-old was quick to seize another chance at glory in tennis’ ultimate team competition.
Czech Republic become the first away team to win the Davis Cup since Spain prevailed in Argentina in 2008. It is also the first time an away team has won the title in a live fifth rubber since Mario Ancic won the decisive point for Croatia in Slovak Republic in 2005.
The Czechs are worthy champions and their performance throughout the weekend was commendable, but Serbia was always going to be up against it in the Final following Friday’s news that Janko Tipsarevic would be unable to fill the second singles spot after failing to adequately shake off a heel injury. And in the decisive rubber, his absence was painfully exposed.
Stepanek simply picked Lajovic apart, mixing spins and slice and trading punishing forehands and cute touches at the net in equal measure. But it was a big ask for a promising young player who hadn’t managed a Tour-level match win in 2013.
"It's a dream," declared stand-in captain Vladimir Safarik. "The first thing I have to say, is it's a privilege to be on this team. Having Tomas and Radek on the team is something special. I'm really proud of my team, it's really amazing what they achieved. Radek is a real professional."
Serbia, led by Novak Djokovic, played its part in an entertaining Final and kept its hopes of a first title since 2010 alive courtesy of their incomparable world No. 2. With Serbia trailing 2-1 going into Today’s opening reverse singles rubber Djokovic put in a champion’s shift, nullifying Berdych’s power off the ground to square the tie at 2-2 following a battling 64 76(5) 62 triumph.
That left Lajovic, who had only played one Davis Cup rubber before this weekend, and a dead one at that, with the steep task of a defeating a man who had been in this situation of playing for the title only last year. Lajovic appeared out of his depth from the get-go, shanking his first two service returns wildly off court. Though he would recover to score an immediate break of serve, that was as good as it got for the Serb as Stepanek took control and raced on to a historic win.
Only France’s Henri Cochet (1927, 1929, 1931) and Britain’s Fred Perry (1933, 1936) have won two Davis Cup Final live fifth singles rubbers before - Radek Stepanek now joins their illustrious company.
He said : "The match was the same (as last year's final), under the biggest possible pressure that can be," Stepanek said in a courtside interview.
"But I knew that I would want to use the experience from last year's final against him. Besides the first game, I controlled the match. I think I played in my best form ever this weekend.
"Of course it is more difficult to defend the title, but I think we used the experience from last year and we earned it."