The Davis Cup 2013 final commenced with a duel between local hero Novak Djokovic and Czech veteran Radek Stepanek who represented the defending champions. The crowd of 15,000 in the Belgrade Arena saw the second-ranked player wasting a 5-2 advantage in the opener, yet Nole eventually wrapped up the set after the twelfth game. He then broke Stepanek to love on two occasions in the second set and served it out with ease. The third set was a neck and neck race until the ninth game when this year’s Australian Open title holder converted on the single break point of the set to put the hosts ahead thanks to a 7-5, 6-1, 6-4 hard court victory.
The visitors were back on level terms later on Friday as the World no. 6 Tomas Berdych also won a three-setter against 23-year-old Dusan Lajovic. He won the opening two sets by breaking the 117th-ranked Serb once each time, whilst he sealed a 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 triumph after the second break in the set number three.
In the Saturday’s doubles clash the best Czech singles players squared off against Ilija Bozoljac and Nenad Zimonjic. The Berdych-Stepanek pair dominated the match where they did not drop a single service game to claim an essential 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (4) win after turning around the third-set tie-break.
On Sunday, Djokovic did what the Serbian audience expected from him as he brushed aside Berdych and set the stage for the rubber match. Nole saved both break points he faced over the course of the encounter, whilst he generated twelve of them and converted three times. He seized the second set after pulling off a comeback in the tie-break and marched through the final set to defeat the Czech number one 6-4, 7-6 (5), 6-2 after holding to love. Novak scored 12 aces to Berdych’s 10 and won 75% of total service points.
The all-decisive clash turned out to be completely one-sided with Stepanek recovering from an early loss of serve and bossing Lajovic around later on. The Serb failed to get any foothold in the match and had problems getting on the table in the last two sets. He faced 15 break points in total and surrendered seven service games in less than two hours of play in Belgrade. Stepanek held the last game of the weekend to love and helped the Czechs lift the Davis Cup trophy for the second year in a row with an overwhelming 6-3, 6-1, 6-1 victory.
Serbia-Czech Republic 2-3
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