David Ferrer of Spain and Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic won singles matches yesterday leaving the two countries tied 1-1 after the opening day of the Davis Cup tennis finals in Prague.
Ferrer, ranked fifth by the ATP World Tour, beat Radek Stepanek 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 to give defending-champion Spain a 1-0 lead. No. 6 Berdych followed with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 6- 3 victory over Almagro to finish the day’s play on the indoor hard courts of 02 Arena.
Ferrer is the highest-ranked player on the Tour in the final, while the 34-year-old Stepanek is ranked 37th. Almagro is No. 11.
“I played well, and I’m happy with my game,” the 30-year- old Ferrer said.
The best-of-five-match final continues with doubles today matching Ivo Minar and Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic against Spain’s Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez.
In tomorrow’s singles, Berdych faces Ferrer and Stepanek opposes Almagro.
Spain is trying to win the premier team event in men’s tennis for the fourth time in five years and sixth time in all. The Spanish team is without Rafael Nadal, the world’s fourth- ranked player, who’s been sidelined since June by a knee injury.
The Czech Republic lost its only previous final appearance to Spain in 2009. The former Czechoslovakia captured its lone Davis Cup title in 1980.
The Davis Cup is celebrating its 100th final this year.
To contact the reporters on this story: Eben Novy-Williams in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org Bob Bensch in London at email@example.com.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at firstname.lastname@example.org.