Czechs retain Davis Cup in Belgrade
Originally published on: 17/11/13 00:00
The 34-year-old defeated Dusan Lajovic 6-3 6-1 6-1 in the fifth rubber to secure a 3-2 victory after Novak Djokovic beat Tomas Berdych 6-4 7-6(5) 6-2 on Sunday to keep Serbia’s hopes of victory alive.
Stepanek, who beat Nicolas Almagro in to clinch a 3-2 victory in last year’s Davis Cup final, became the first man in the competition’s history to win the decisive fifth rubber in back-to-back years.
The defending champions lost the opening rubber as world No.2 Djokovic got the better of Stepanek on Friday, but Berdych levelled the scores with victory over Lajovic, a late replacement for the injured Janko Tipsarevic.
Berdych and Stepanek then joined forces in Saturday’s doubles as they took their impressive record to 14 wins from 15 Davis Cup matches with a 6-2 6-4 7-6(4) victory over Nenad Zimonjic and Ilija Bozoljac.
Djokovic did everything in his power to keep the hosts in the competition, but it was ultimately in vain as Stepanek proved too strong for the inexperienced Lajovic.
"I don't think words can describe it," said Stepanek. "To defend this trophy means the world for us and our country. We waited 32 years for the second title and now we are one of five countries that have been able to defend the title.
"We played in Serbia, on their surface, in front of their fantastic crowd. We made history today. I felt great on the court here since Friday and I just proved it. I've been Top 10 singles, Top 10 doubles, I've won two Grand Slams, and played the Masters in singles and doubles, but winning the Davis Cup tops it all."
Davis Cup Final 2013
N Djokovic beat R Stepanek 7-5 6-1 6-4
T Berdych beat D Lajovic 6-3 6-4 6-3
T Berdych & R Stepanek beat N Zimonjic & I Bozoljac 6-2 6-4 7-6(4)
N Djokovic beat T Berdych 6-4 7-6(5) 6-2
R Stepanek beat D Lajovic 6-3 6-1 6-1