Czech Republic takes doubles point, 2-1 lead over Serbia in Davis Cup final
BELGRADE, Serbia -- The Czech Republic is one victory from winning a second straight Davis Cup.
The defending champions defeated Serbia in doubles for a 2-1 lead in the Davis Cup final Saturday when Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek beat Nenad Zimonjic and Ilija Bozoljac 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (4). The victory by the Czech pair on the indoor hard court at Belgrade Arena improved their Davis Cup doubles record to 14-1.
Berdych plays Novak Djokovic, who is on a 23-match winning run, in the first reverse singles on Sunday. The final could be decided when Stepanek likely meets cup rookie Dusan Lajovic in the last match of the best-of-five series.
"Our boys gave their best," Serbia captain Bogdan Obradovic said. "But we were in similar situations before."
Serbia came from 2-1 down in the 2010 Davis Cup final against France. The Serbs also overturned the deficit against Canada in the semifinals.
But both stars of those series aren't playing. Viktor Troicki, who clinched Serbia's only cup title in 2010, is serving a doping ban, and Janko Tipsarevic, who secured the win over Canada, has an injured heel.
Obradovic said he was not sure if Lajovic, who lost against Berdych in straight sets on Friday, would play if a fifth match is needed to settle the outcome.
On Saturday, the Czechs broke Zimonjic at the start of the first two sets. Zimonjic netted an easy volley in the second set to give the Czechs a two-set lead.
Stepanek saved the only break point for the Serbs at 2-3 in the third set with a fine drop shot. In the third-set tiebraker, Stepanek first lost his serve, but then Zimonjic and Bozoljac were hit by mini-breaks. Stepanek won the match with an ace.
"They were better in every aspect of the game," Zimonjic said. "We had a little chance in the third set, but that was the only one. They were controlling the match from the beginning to the end."