Stepanek in an encore, wins Davis Cup for Czech Republic

TENNIS-DAVIS-SRB-CZE

Radek Stepanek: brings glory to Czech Republic again

Radek Stepanek trounced Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic in three straight sets to clinch the Davis Cup for Czech Republic Sunday evening. The Czechs are the defending champions. And the victory means they have won the championship, back-to-back.

The decisive match was a mis-match in the first instance. The 23 year-old Lajovic is ranked 117, in contrast to veteran 34 year old Stepanek, who is ranked 44th, and who is less than two weeks to his 35th birthday.

Stepanek took the three sets 6-4, 6-1 and 6-1.

Lajovic and replaced 36th-ranked Janko Tipsarevic, out with a heel injury, while 2010 champions Serbia also missed 76th-ranked Viktor Troicki over a doping ban.

Radek Stepanek: brings glory to Czech Republic again
Radek Stepanek: brings glory to Czech Republic again

On the hardcourt of the Belgrade Arena, the Czech Republic, playing the third Davis Cup final in five years, scored a ninth straight victory in Davis Cup ties.

Earlier on Sunday, Serbia’s world number two Novak Djokovic forced the decisive rubber as he beat seventh-ranked Tomas Berdych 6-4, 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 in two hours and 41 minutes for his 24th victory in a row.

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In Friday’s singles, Djokovic, the recently-crowned ATP World Tour Finals champion, beat Stepanek 7-5, 6-1, 6-4, and Berdych then saw off Lajovic 6-3, 6-4, 6-3.

On Saturday, Berdych and Stepanek won the 14th of their 15 Davis Cup doubles rubbers together as they swept Ilija Bozoljac and Nenad Zimonjic 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (7/4).

A year ago, the Czechs beat Spain 3-2 in Prague for their first triumph as an independent country with Stepanek again winning the decisive final rubber.

Former Czechoslovakia, which split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993, won the cup in 1980.