Champion Czechs take 2-1 Davis Cup lead over Dutch

The Sports NetworkJanuary 31, 2014 

Ostrava, Czech Republic (SportsNetwork.com) - The reigning two-time champion Czech Republic took a 2-1 lead over the Netherlands by virtue of Saturday's doubles victory by Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek in their opening-round Davis Cup tie.

Berdych and Stepanek held off a game Dutch tandem of Robin Haase and Jean- Julien Rojer 7-5, 1-6, 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-4) to forge ahead in this best-of- five affair.

The Czechs can secure a berth in the quarterfinals with one singles victory on Sunday, when Berdych meets Haase and Stepanek takes on Igor Sijsling.

Friday's opening singles saw Haase outlast the 35-year-old Czech Davis Cup hero Stepanek, 3-6, 6-4, 6-7 (4-7), 6-2, 6-1, and the Australian Open semifinalist and former Wimbledon runner-up Berdych blow past Sijsling, 6-3, 6-3, 6-0, on the indoor hardcourt at Cez Arena.

Stepanek clinched both Davis Cup titles for the Czechs in 2012 and last year by winning fifth and deciding rubbers in the previous two World Group finals.

Berdych and Stepanek combined to lead the Czechs to those two straight Davis Cup titles, including a victory over Serbia in last year's finale.

The mighty Czechs are captained by Jaroslav Navratil, while Jan Siemerink is guiding the Dutch squad.

The Czech Republic beat the Netherlands 4-1 in a World Group playoff in 2006 in their lone previous meeting. The former Czechoslovakia went 3-1 versus the Dutch from 1925-1978.

The Czech-Dutch winner will face the Canada-Japan victor in a quarterfinal in April.

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