Spain and Czech Republic reach Davis Cup final
Originally published on: 26/02/10 11:44
The Czech Republic and Spain will meet in the Davis Cup final after sealing insurmountable 3-0 leads in Saurday’s doubles rubbers of their semi-final ties.
Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek returned from five set thrillers to defeat Croatias Marin Cilic and Lovro Zovko 6-1 6-3 6-4, while Feliciano Lopez and Tommy Robredo overcame Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram of Israel 7-6(6) 6-7(7) 6-4 6-2 in Murcia, Spain.
The wins mean defending champions Spain will face the Czechs at home in the final, scheduled for December 4-6. Spain has won 17 straight victories at home, all played on clay. For the Czechs, it is their first final appearance since they won the competition 29 years ago.
It was a mammoth effort from Stepanek and Berdych in Porec, after both had played five sets the day before. Stepanek survived a 78-ace onslaught from Ivo Karlovic to win an 82-game marathon before Berdych beat Marin Cilic in a match that started much later than expected.
In world No.2 Rafael Nadal’s absence, Juan Carlos Ferrero and David Ferrer won their opening matches to give Spain a 2-0 lead in the semi-final with wins over Harel Levy and Dudi Sela.
In the World Group play-offs, Roger Federer sat out the doubles rubber for Switzerland’s tie in Italy after helping them to a 2-0 lead on Friday.
Simone Bolelli and Potito Starace beat Marco Chiudinelli and Stanislas Wawrinka 6-2 6-4 7-6(3) to reduce the deficit to 2-1.
India was forced to concede the doubles rubber in their tie against South Africa following an injury to Mahesh Bhupathi, cutting India’s lead to 2-1 ahead of the reverse singles.
Among the play-off matches only Serbia sealed victory on Saturday, as Nenad Zimonjic and Janko Tipsarevic beat Denis Istomin and Farrukh Dustov 6-2 6-3 6-2 to take a 3-0 lead.
Elsewhere Austria pulled a rubber back against Chile on Saturday, as did Ukraine against Belgium, while Ecuador, France and Sweden edged ahead after splitting the singles rubbers on Friday.