- Davis Cup final
Berdych and Stepanek put Czechs ahead
Czech Republic took control of the Davis Cup final with Spain as Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek battled back from a set down to beat Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez in the doubles.
The Spanish pair are one of the best exponents of the doubles art and came into the final in fine form following their win at the ATP World Tour Finals.
They started like the dominant force, powering through the first set, but a partisan crowd in Prague willed Berdych and Stepanek to a 3-6 7-5 7-5 6-3 win.
Stepanek began like a player under pressure as, after losing his opening singles to David Ferrer, he coughed up two double faults in his first service game and was broken.
Lopez came through a tough seventh game to hold as Spain went on the take the set. Dropping the first set did not dampen the crowd's enthusiasm and the Czech pair were far stronger in the second. They targeted Lopez and he was broken twice as the set went their way.
Lopez was again the man broken in the third, this time in the 12th game, as the Czechs whipped up the crowd by moving ahead in the match.
Granollers had been solid on serve, but he blinked in the sixth game. A string of mistakes came off his racket as the Czechs moved ahead.
Stepanek held serve to move within one game of victory and after Lopez came through a tight hold, Berdych kept his nerve to secure a win that moves Czech Republic 2-1 ahead of the reverse singles.
Berdych will face Ferrer in the fourth match, with Almagro and Stepanek slated to meet in the fifth game.