Ferrer draws first blood for Spain
"It wasn't a stroll by any means, it cost me a lot of effort. Above all it was hard for me to finish off the points," Ferrer, Spain's top player in the absence of the injured former world number one Rafael Nadal, told Spanish television.
Spain are bidding for their fourth Davis Cup crown in five years, while the Czechs aim to become the first country in 22 years to win the men's and women's team titles in the same year.
In the first set, Stepanek came back from 0-40 through 11 deuces in game six but then lost his serve two games later. Ferrer then took the second set with two breaks against Stepanek's one, before completing the job after converting his second match point following another two breaks in the last set.
Result (final): 1-Spain lead 5-Czech Republic 1-0 (David Ferrer bt Radek Stepanek 6-3, 6-4, 6-4).