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By Chris Oddo

Sara Errani French Open (November 17, 2012)--Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek defeated Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez to put the Czech team on the brink of its first Davis Cup title since 1980 on Saturday.

The 3-6, 7-5, 7-5, 6-3 victory is Berdych and Stepanek's 12th triumph in 13 career Davis Cup doubles rubbers.

After losing the first set, the Czech duo rallied, breaking Lopez's serve in the final game of the second and third sets to put the Spaniard's backs against the wall.

In the fourth set the Czechs struck first, breaking Granollers for the first time to lead 4-2.

With Berdych, who was unbroken on the afternoon, serving for the match, the Spaniards saved two match points. The second, a brilliant backhand down-the-line passing shot by Lopez off a Berdych first serve, got Spain back to deuce.

But the Spaniard's last-ditch heroics would not be enough to save them from falling behind in Prague.

After Granollers missed a volley Berdych and Stepanek had their third match point in hand. On the ensuing point it looked as if the Czechs had won it, but an unfortunate errant line call negated the point, forcing Berdych to serve it up again.

Once he had waited for the rowdy crowd to settle down, Berdych lashed another big serve and finished the Spaniards off with a smash that sent the packed O2 Arena in Prague into fits of jubilation. Berdych, who started slowly on Saturday, carried the Czech duo for much of the final two sets.

With the Czechs leading 2-1 heading into Sunday, they will need one of the two reverse singles rubbers to take the crown. Berdych, who has played nine physical sets in the last two days, will face a rested David Ferrer in the first rubber, with Radek Stepanek and Nicolas Almagro ready to play a winner-take-all rubber for the tie if Ferrer can prevail.

Spain has won the Davis Cup title in three of the last four years, and five times since 2000, including their 5-0 blanking of the Czech Republic in the 2009 final.

The Czechs are looking for their second overall title, and first since becoming the Czech Republic in 1993.

This weekend’s final is the 100th in Davis Cup history.


(Photo Credit: AP Photo)

 

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