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Czechs lead Serbs 2-1 in Davis Cup final
Belgrade, Serbia (SportsNetwork.com) - A terrific tandem of Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek beat a duo of Nenad Zimonjic and Ilija Bozoljac on Saturday to give the reigning champion Czech Republic a 2-1 lead over host Serbia in the best-of-five Davis Cup final.
The world No. 7 Berdych and 34-year-old Stepanek improved to a brilliant 14-1 in their Davis Cup doubles rubbers together with a straight-set, 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4), victory over Zimonjic and Bozoljac on an indoor hardcourt at Kombank Arena.
Berdych and Stepanek held their serve throughout in the 2-hour, 12- minute affair and broke their opponents three times on Day 2. Zimonjic and Bozoljac committed 24 more unforced errors (63-39) in the tough setback.
The Czechs have won the last six sets in this all-European tie.
The 2013 Davis Cup title will be decided on Sunday, when the reverse singles will pit Serbian hero Novak Djokovic against the former Wimbledon runner-up Berdych and Stepanek versus Dusan Lajovic, who is filling in this week for injured former Serbian top-10 star Janko Tipsarevic. The 117th-ranked Lajovic is the lowest-ranked player to appear in a Davis Cup final in nearly a decade.
The Czechs need just one win on Day 3.
"We've put all the pressure on Serbia. We are in the best possible position after Saturday," said Berdych. "I have nothing to lose [against Djokovic]. I'm feeling good on the court. It's a huge challenge to play Novak in front of his home crowd and in the form he's in. But I will try to do my best, play my best tennis and you never know."
In Friday's opening singles, the world No. 2 Belgrade native and former top- ranked Djokovic straight-setted Stepanek, 7-5, 6-1, 6-4, and Berdych blitzed Lajovic, also in straights, 6-3, 6-4, 6-3.
The red-hot Australian Open titlist Djokovic has won his last 23 matches overall, including a title last week at the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals in London. He hasn't lost since giving way to his great rival Rafael Nadal in September's U.S. Open finale.
The Czechs beat Spain in last year's World Group final when a heroic Stepanek won a fifth and deciding rubber in Prague.
The Serbs are captained by Bogdan Obradovic, while the Czechs, appearing in their third final in five years, are skippered by interim captain Vladimir Safarik, who is filling on for Jaroslav Navratil after he was hospitalized with a blood clot last week.
Serbia and the Czech Republic have split their two previous meetings. The Czechs beat the visiting Serbs in a quarterfinal matchup last year, while host Serbia prevailed in a semifinal in 2010, the year the Serbs corralled their lone Davis Cup title.
11/16 13:12:35 ET
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