Stepanek the hero as Czech Republic seal Davis Cup glory
November 18, 2012 -- Updated 2008 GMT (0408 HKT)
Radek Stepanek delivered the Czech Republic's first Davis Cup triumph since 1980 by beating Spain's Nicolas Almagro
- 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
(CNN) -- 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.
Jubilant Czechs clinch 'amazing' Fed Cup title defense
Andy Murray's summer of success
Djokovic beats Federer in ATP final
Spirit, fitness and David Ferrer
But Almagro couldn't halt Stepanek's charge as the defending champions surrendered their crown.
"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.
Part of complete coverage on
March 5, 2014 -- Updated 1014 GMT (1814 HKT)
After two decades dedicated to the game, Amelie Mauresmo wants a second life -- one away from tennis.
Almost five years to the day after reducing Roger Federer to tears at the Australian Open, Rafael Nadal shed a few in his own loser's speech.
February 2, 2014 -- Updated 0248 GMT (1048 HKT)
Li Na outperformed Maria Sharapova at the Australian Open, but can she now surpass the Russian as the world's richest female athlete?
Roger Federer may have lost again to Rafael Nadal in the business end of a grand slam, but he can take some heart from yet another record says CNN's Will Edmonds.
January 21, 2014 -- Updated 1358 GMT (2158 HKT)
Roger Federer and Stefan Edberg, Novak Djokovic and Boris Becker -- today's tennis stars are teaming up with past legends of the game.
January 15, 2014 -- Updated 1859 GMT (0259 HKT)
Can't stand the heat of the first tennis grand slam of 2014? Then you clearly haven't been doing enough Bikram yoga.
After nearly a decade without any real change at the top of men's tennis, CNN's Will Edmonds looks at next generation of future stars.
January 9, 2014 -- Updated 1314 GMT (2114 HKT)
Ana Ivanovic is still seeking to rediscover the form that took her to the top of the rankings -- but she has found a new lease of life.
January 6, 2014 -- Updated 1142 GMT (1942 HKT)
As a teen sensation, Bernard Tomic had the tennis world at his feet -- but he's in danger of blowing it, says Australian great Pat Rafter.
December 31, 2013 -- Updated 1532 GMT (2332 HKT)
Roger Federer becomes the latest tennis star to turn to a former legend for help, adding his "childhood hero" Stefan Edberg to his coaching team.
December 20, 2013 -- Updated 1750 GMT (0150 HKT)
CNN's Open Court meets the three grand slam winners of 2013 and asks who will rule next year?
December 5, 2013 -- Updated 1517 GMT (2317 HKT)
South Africa may just have found another Paralympian to inspire a nation -- and perhaps the world.
Today's five most popular stories