One day after the 2012 Davis Cup Final at the O2 Arena, there is a hero in Prague: Radek Stepanek. After a crushing, straight-sets defeat by Spain’s David Ferrer on Friday’s first rubber, Stepanek teamed with Tomas Berdych on Saturday to defeat reigning ATP World Tour Doubles Champions, Marcus Lopez and Marcel Granollers. Then on Sunday, with the Final tied at 2-all after Ferrer’s straight-sets win over Tomas Berdych, Stepanek gutted-out a 4-set win over Nicolas Almagro 6-4, 7-6, 3-6, 6-3 to capture the Davis Cup Title for the Czech Republic.
Highlights from Sunday’s final rubber:
R1 – David Ferrer (ES) defeated Radek Stepanek (CZ) 6-3, 6-4, 6-4
R2 – Tomas Berdych (CZ) defeated Nicolas Almagro (ES) 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-7, 6-3
R3 – Radek Stepanek and Tomas Berdych (CZ) defeated Marcus Lopez and Marcel Granollers (ES) 3-6, 7-5, 7-5, 6-3
R4 – David Ferrer (ES) defeated Tomas Berdych (CZ) 6-2, 6-3, 7-5
R5 – Radek Stepanek (CZ) defeated Nicolas Almagro (ES) 6-4, 7-6, 3-6, 6-3
Stepanek’s win was one for the history books, as he became the first man over 30 years old to win the deciding fifth rubber in 100-years. The last pair of Czechs to play the entire weekend and win the title were Ivan Lendl and Tomas Smid in 1980, and they were both there at the O2 Arena over the weekend to heighten expectation and absorb the drama.
After the match, Radek Stepanek: “They’ve been our inspiration, our idols. They’re the legends and now we’re joining them…I’m living a dream. We have been working very hard very hard for this moment. It was the biggest pressure under which I’ve ever played. Everything was at stake.”
What an amazing year for Czech Tennis! – Czech Republic is now the first nation to win the Hopman Cup, Fed Cup and Davis Cup all in the same calendar year.