It was the Serbian who got off to a better start in the first set, but one break of serve wasn’t sufficient as the Czech Stepanek came back and took the lead in the match.
Tipsarevic responded in the best possible way, claiming the next two sets he looked just as confident as he did when he beat Stepanek in their 2010 Davis Cup semifinal encounter (6-0 7-6 6-4). But this time it was going to be a long night for both players. Stepanek picked himself up, and taking the fourth set, the Czech crowd in Prague got onto their feet and it was only hard to predict the outcome of this encounter.
The fifth set offered real drama on both sides. Tipsarevic got up a break and as he let it slip away, it almost cost him the match. The Czech had three match points but couldn’t convert any of them and it was the Serbian who broke again to take a 8-7 lead. This time he managed to keep his cool and serving it out, he levelled the tie at 1:1.
In tomorrow’s doubles, Frantisek Cermak and Lukas Rosol will play the Serbian duo Ilija Bozoljac and Nenad Zimonjic.