Spain leading 2-0 over Czech Republic in Davis Cup final
BARCELONA: Spain were on course to claim their second consecutive Davis Cup title after David Ferrer came back from two sets down to beat Radek Stepanek and leave the hosts 2-0 up here on Friday.
Earlier, world number two Rafael Nadal cruised past Tomas Berdych 7-5, 6-0, 6-2 in the opening singles match.
Ferrer, by contrast, did it the hard way.
Stepanek, ranked 12 in the world, comfortably claimed the first two sets, before the Spanish world number 18 clawed his way back to take the next three in a heroic performance that lasted four hours and 17 minutes.
Ferrer eventually came out the winner 1-6, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, 8-6 in the third consecutive five-set meeting between the two.
The Czechs must now win Saturday''s doubles in which Jan Hajek and Lukas Dlouhy face Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco. The reverse singles rubbers on Sunday pitch Nadal against Stepanek and Ferrer against Berdych.
After an awkward start to his match, world number two Nadal compensated for a tense exchange of service breaks in the first few games of the match by winning 13 straight games from 5-5 in the first set.
Berdych, ranked 20th in the world, faded badly and was powerless to stop the match deteriorating rapidly during the 2 hour 29 minute encounter.