Czechs take lead in 100th Davis Cup final

Tomas Berdych, left, celebrates with teammate Radek Stepanek after winning Saturday's doubles rubber in the Davis Cup final.

Story highlights

  • Czech Republic's men's team take 2-1 lead over Spain in the 100th Davis Cup final
  • Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek beat Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez
  • World No. 6 Berdych can clinch title by beating David Ferrer in Sunday's reverse singles
  • Defending champions Spain whitewashed the Czechs 5-0 in the 2009 final

Tomas Berdych has hovered around the edge of the "big four" of men's tennis for the past three years, but on Sunday he will take center stage in what could be a historic moment for his country.

The Czech Republic has not won the Davis Cup since its split from Slovakia in 1993, but its men's team are poised follow up its women's success in the Fed Cup after taking a 2-1 lead in the final against defending champions Spain.

The women retained their title in the tournament's 50th staging, and the men are battling to follow up Czechoslovakia's sole 1980 victory as the 100th edition of the Davis Cup comes to a climax in Prague.

"That's all we wanted," Berdych said after helping Radek Stepanek to defeat the ATP World Tour Finals champion partnership of Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez 3-6 7-5 7-5 6-3 in Saturday's doubles rubber.

"We are still missing a lot, it's just one point, but we are looking ahead and we will do everything."

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Berdych is ranked sixth in the world in singles play, and 119th in doubles, but he has come to the fore in the Davis Cup this season with 10 wins from 10 matches.

Friday's victory over Nicolas Almagro, which leveled the final, was his first over a Spanish player after three previous defeats -- including the 2009 final when the Czechs were whitewashed 5-0 in Barcelona.

On Sunday he will play fifth-ranked David Ferrer, who has a leading seven tournament titles this year and 74 match wins -- second only behind world No. 1 Novak Djokovic.

Ferrer has a 22-4 record in Davis Cup matches, including Friday's win over Stepanek, and he holds a 5-3 career advantage in matches against Berdych.

Ferrer is also unbeaten in Davis Cup action this year, and is leading the Spanish team in the absence of the injured Rafael Nadal.

If he beats Berdych in their first encounter this year, then the final will hinge on the fifth rubber between 37th-ranked Stepanek and world No. 11 Almagro.

Almagro has an 8-3 Davis Cup record, but did not feature in last year's final or his country's triumphs in 2004, 2008, and 2009.

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