Spain crush Czech to retain title

Spain crush Czech to retain title

Lopez and Verdasco win doubles rubber to take an unassailable 3-0 lead

Spain crush Czech to retain title

Spain’s Feliciano Lopez (left) and Fernando Verdasco celebrate their doubles win over Czech Republic’s Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek on Saturday. AFPA home victory was hardly in doubt after singles wins for Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer on Friday and Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco ensured there would be no last-day nerves by beating Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek 7-6, 7-5, 6-2.

The two Spaniards embraced and sank to the floor before joining their team-mates on a lap of honour.

The result rounded off a deflating couple of days for the Czech pair, who were on the losing end of those singles rubbers on Friday.

They were cheered home on Saturday by another sell-out crowd of 16,200 at the indoor Palau Sant Jordi, as they became the first team to successfully defend the Davis Cup since Sweden in 1998.

There was not much between the two teams in the first two sets on Saturday, with Spain's greater assurance on the clay surface, plus the ear-splitting support from the crowd, seeing them through the key moments.

Spain took the first set 9-7 on the tiebreak after Berdych had missed a chance to win it on his serve.

The second was decided when Berdych, who struggled for form throughout, let slip 40-0 on his own serve to give Spain the break in game 11, Verdasco sealing the advantage with a crunching forehand from the baseline.

Spain rode the momentum into the third set and completed another win at the same Montjuic arena that played host to their first Davis Cup success.

Earlier on Friday, David Ferrer beat marathon man Radek Stepanek at his own game to put Spain 2-0 up. The Czechs seemed certain to level the tie as Stepanek set about dismantling the Ferrer serve in the opening two, hopelessly one-sided sets.

The Davis Cup has a habit of producing great comebacks, however, and feeding off the boisterous home support Ferrer somehow contrived to take a 1-6, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, 8-6 win.