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Czech mate! Stepanek wins to retain the Davis Cup for the Czech Republic


The Davis Cup is an international tennis tournament played between countries in a knockout format. Conceived in 1900 the initial tournament was played between Great Britain and the United States, won by the US.

Last week saw the final of the 2013 edition with second seed Czech Republic playing fourth seed Serbia. This saw the likes of 2011 Wimbledon Champion and this year’s runner-up Novak Djokovic face world number seven seed and 2010 Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych.

Both of the opening rubber’s were won in straight sets, Djokovic defeating one-time world number eight seed Radek Stepanek and Berdych beating Dusan Lajovic to leave the tie in the balance at 1-1.

In the doubles match the Czech team fielded their two strongest players (Berdych & Stepanek) while Serbia fielded Nenad Zimonjić a strong doubles player and decided to rest Djokovic in favour of world number 238 Ilija Bozoljac who has little to boast about other than beating Bob and Mike Bryan from the USA earlier in the year. With Djokovic on the sidelines the Serbs were to lose in straight sets handing the Czechs a crucial 2-1 advantage in the tie.

On his way to the Wimbledon final Berdych had beaten Djokovic, but this year’s Davis cup was a role reversal, Djokovic winning the match in straight sets to level the tie and give his Country the chance of adding to their maiden title from 2010. The Serbs however were without world number 36 Janko Tipsarevic who was unable to recover from an ankle injury and Stepanek defeated Dusan Lajovic in straight sets to win the Davis Cup for the Czech Republic.

On the way to the final the Serbians had to overcome a strong Canadian team who in the first round had defeated top seeds Spain whilst Czech Republic had beaten Argentina in the other Semi Final. Playing on home soil, on indoor hard court, the Serbians were tipped as favourites, however it was not meant to be and the title was to return to Czechs for the second consecutive year after their 2012 win.

Although Djokovic had had a long year, was the choice to sit out the doubles the right one? After winning two consecutive masters 1000 events and the ATP World Tour Finals, the Australian Open Champion certainly would have wanted the rest, however failing to play the world’s form player is definitely a decision the Serbs will regret with hindsight.

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