Stepanek the hero as Czech Republic seal Davis Cup glory

Radek Stepanek delivered the Czech Republic's first Davis Cup triumph since 1980 by beating Spain's Nicolas Almagro

Story highlights

  • Radek Stepanek wins decisive fifth rubber to clinch Davis Cup for Czech Republic
  • Stepanek beats Almagro 6-4 7-6 3-6 6-3 in front of a jubilant crowd in Prague
  • David Ferrer had earlier pushed final to a fifth rubber by beating Tomas Berdych

Radek Stepanek held his nerve to deliver the Czech Republic's first Davis Cup victory in 32 years after defeating Spain's Nicolas Almagro in a dramatic fifth rubber.

World No. 37 Stepanek stunned Alamgro, who is ranked 16 places higher than him, during a tense clash that ended 6-4 7-6 3-6 6-3 in Prague and lasted a little under four hours.

It capped a stellar season for the Czech Republic, whose women won the Fed Cup just two weeks ago. It was their first Davis Cup title since they split from neighboring country Slovakia in 1993.

Stepanek sealed victory after Spain's David Ferrer had pushed the encounter to a fifth rubber by defeating Tomas Berdych in straight sets during Sunday's opening match.

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But Almagro couldn't halt Stepanek's charge as the defending champions surrendered their crown.

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"It's amazing, we've written history here in our country," Stepanek said in a court side interview. "I cannot describe what I'm feeling right now.

"I came on the court with a mindset that I have to stay calm, hungry, motivated, concentrated, and always know what I'm doing. And that's what I did."

A relieved Berdych was ecstatic at Stepanek's performance after his 6-2 6-3 7-5 defeat to Ferrer earlier in the day.

"There are no words to say. Indescribable. This is the best thing that can be," he said.

Roared on by a vociferous 14,000 strong crowd Stepanek required just one break point to take the opening set 6-4.

Finding himself 4-2 down in the second the 33-year-old rallied to take it to a tiebreak, where he secured a decisive 7-0 victory.

Almagro stepped up a gear in the third set as the Prague crowd echoed the tension emanating from Stepanek.

But the world no. 37 was back on song in the fourth as he obtained the breaks of serve he needed to close out the match and spark wild scenes of celebration inside the arena.


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