Davis Cup final: Czech Republic close on title after victory over Serbia in doubles clash
Last Updated: 16/11/13 6:40pm
Tomas Berdych (R) and Radek Stepanek: Maintained unbeaten run together
The Czech Republic edged closer to a successful defence of their title Davis Cup title after winning the pivotal doubles rubber against Serbia on Saturday.
Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek defied a partisan crowd to defeat home duo Nenad Zimonjic and Ilija Bozoljac 6-2 6-4 7-6 (7-4) at the Kombank Arena in Belgrade.
The result puts the Czechs 2-1 in front and leaves them needing to win just one of the reverse singles rubbers on Sunday to secure a second straight title.
Sunday's action will see Novak Djokovic take on Berdych before Stepanek takes on inexperienced world No 117 Dusan Lajovic, who has replaced the injured Janko Tipsarevic.
Berdych and Stepanek are now undefeated in nine straight ties as a doubles pairing and have won 14 of the 15 Davis Cup rubbers they have played together.
In Belgrade they allowed just one break point during the whole contest, which they managed to save midway through the second set.
Experienced doubles competitor Zimonjic lost the very first service game of the match and when Bozoljac was also broken in the seventh game the Czechs were well on their way to winning the first set.
Berdych and Stepanek also managed to wrap up the second with minimal fuss, Zimonjic again dropping his first service game of the set.
The third set proved to be much more competitive as the Serbian pair raised their game and hopes of a dramatic comeback among the 15,000-strong crowd.
A tie-break was needed to settle it, with Zimonjic and Bozoljac taking an early lead before their opponents turned things around to move to the brink of victory in the tie.