Davis Cup final: Radek Stepanek wraps up victory for Czech Republic
Last Updated: 17/11/13 9:43pm
Radek Stepanek beat Dusan Lajovic in three sets to give Czech Republic a 3-2 victory over Serbia in the Davis Cup final in Belgrade.
The 23-year-old Lajovic, the world No 117 who was a late replacement for the injured world No 36 Janko Tipsarevic, was comprehensively beaten 6-3 6-1 6-1.
The 44th-ranked, 34-year-old Stepanek saw off Lajovic in just an hour and 52 minutes, as the Czechs retained the trophy they won 12 months ago.
The passionate home fans were silenced by a cool performance from Stepanek, who gave Lajovic no chance in the decisive rubber.
Lajovic had 17,000 noisy Serbian supporters on their feet when he broke Stepanek in the opening game, but it turned out to be the high point of the match for the 23-year-old, as his more experienced opponent highlighted the gulf in class between the two players.
Stepanek combined his baseline and volleying skills to good effect and converted his first match point with a winning volley, to send about a thousand visiting Czech fans wild as he was mobbed by his team mates.
Earlier, Novak Djokovic beat Tomas Berdych 6-4 7-6 6-2 to level the final at 2-2.
World No 2 Djokovic beat seventh-ranked Berdych in two hours and 41 minutes in front of a noisily passionate crowd in his home city - his 24th victory in a row.
Both men sent down six aces each in the first set, but Djokovic's play was more precise, earning him 10 break points against none for Berdych.
Djokovic finally capitalised on the 10th one in game 10, converting his fourth set point for a 6-4 lead after an hour.
In the second set, both men held on to their serves throughout and in the subsequent tie-break Djokovic edged it 7-5.
In the third set, Berdych's level slipped away and Djokovic broke twice for what was ultimately a comfortable victory.