Spain will be gunning for its fourth Davis Cup title in five years this weekend in Prague. David Ferrer will lead the defending Davis Cup champions up against the Czech Republic this weekend on the hard courts inside Prague's O2 Arena.
A tournament that began with 16 teams back in February and has been played on a combination of clay and hard courts will come to a close this fall. The only question left to be answered is whether there will be a new champion. The Czech Republic has not won the Davis Cup since it was Czechoslovakia in 1981.
Spain will be without its star, Rafael Nadal, but still has plenty of firepower, including veteran Nicolas Almagro, who ranks just outside the Top 10 in men's singles.
The Spanish have defeated Kazakhstan, Austria and the United States to reach the final round, while the Czech Republic has eliminated Italy, Serbia and Argentina on its way to the championship tie.
Here we get you set with everything you need to know for what's sure to be a wild finish to the 2012 Davis Cup in Prague.
Where: O2 Arena, Prague, Czech Republic
When: Friday, November 16 through Sunday, November 18
Watch: Tennis Channel
Live Streaming: ITFTeamEvents.TV
Commonly referred to as a tie, essentially meaning an elimination round, this weekend's matchup will consist of five rubbers, otherwise known as matches. The first nation to win three rubbers will win the tie.
On Day 1, two singles rubbers will be played, followed by a doubles rubber on Day 2. Finally, Day 3 will consist of two more singles rubbers. If the tie is not decided after Day 2, then, barring replacement for injury or the like, the first-day players swap opponents and play again on Day 3, thus giving each nation its best shot to win.
Czech Republic Will Rely on Tomas Berdych
The host nation will look to world No. 6 Tomas Berdych to lead it to an upset victory over Spain this weekend. According to an ESPN.com report via the Associated Press, Berdych and teammate Radek Stepanek will likely team up for the lone doubles match in addition to kicking off Friday's first two singles rubbers.
In the 2009 Davis Cup Final, when the Czech Republic lost its first three matches right out of the gate to Spain in Barcelona, both Berdych and Stepanek were on the losing end, dropping their two singles rubbers and their doubles match to surrender a decisive 3-0 lead to Spain.
Absence of Rafael Nadal Opens Door for Nicolas Almagro
Nicolas Almagro will get to do more than just cheer on his countrymen this November in Prague.
Eleven-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal's absence at the 2012 Davis Cup Final means that world No. 11 will get a shot to prove himself on international tennis' grandest stage outside of the Olympics.
The 27-year-old Almagro is having a career year in 2012, boasting two singles titles and an impressive 58-22 singles match record. Something to keep an eye on, though, is Almagro's struggles against Tomas Berdych. He has lost his last three matches with Berdych and has not beaten the Czech star since the fourth round at Indian Wells last March.
Czech Republic Squad (World Ranking)
Tomas Berdych (No. 6)
Radek Stepanek (No. 37)
Lukas Rosol (No. 71)
Ivo Minar (No. 189)
Spain Squad (World Ranking)
David Ferrer (No. 5)
Nicolas Almagro (No. 11)
Marcel Granollers (No. 33)
Marc Lopez (No. 6)*
Davis Cup 2012 Finals TV Schedule
|Date||Match||Start Time (ET)||Network|
|Fri, Nov. 16||
Rubber No. 1 (Singles)
Rubber No. 2 (Singles)
|Sat, Nov. 17||Rubber No. 3 (Doubles)||8:00 a.m.||Tennis Channel|
|Sun, Nov. 18||
Rubber No. 4 (Singles)
Rubber No. 5 (Singles)
*All information courtesy of DavisCup.com.
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