BELGRADE, Nov 16 (Reuters) - Holders Czech Republic took a 2-1 lead over hosts Serbia in the Davis Cup final after Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek romped to a 6-2 6-4 7-6 (4) win over Nenad Zimonjic and Ilija Bozoljac in Saturday’s doubles.
The result put the Czechs firmly in the driving seat with Berdych facing world number two Novak Djokovic in Sunday’s opening singles before Stepanek takes on Dusan Lajovic, a late replacement for the injured Janko Tipsarevic.
Berdych and Stepanek improved their Davis Cup doubles record as a pair to 14-1 with an effervescent performance in the packed Kombank Arena, with several hundred colourful Czech fans often gaining the upper hand over 15,000 home supporters in terms of noise.
Volleying past their opponents almost at will and carving them open with passing shots time and again, the Czech duo broke both Zimonjic’s and Bozoljac’s serve in the opening set as the Serbians also committed too many unforced errors.
With the flat-looking Zimonjic dropping his serve again in the opening game of the second set, the visitors comfortably held on to their advantage as Stepanek ran both Serbs ragged with devastating forays to the net.
The Czechs faced their only break point of the match in the fifth game of the third set but Stepanek held serve after a pair of audacious volleys and the champions then stormed back from a 3-1 deficit in the tiebreak to seal victory in two hours 12 minutes. (Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic editing by Josh Reich)