Czech Republic Defeats Spain in Davis Cup 2012 Final

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent INovember 18, 2012

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC - NOVEMBER 18:  Radek Stepanek of Czech Republic plays a backhand against Nicolas Almagro of Spain during day three of the final Davis Cup match between Czech Republic and Spain at the 02 Arena on November 18, 2012 in Prague, Czech Republic.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

The Czech Republic defeated Spain 3-2 in the 2012 Davis Cup Final this weekend in Prague, claiming the nation's first Davis Cup championship in over three decades.

Radek Stepanek finished off the Spanish in the fifth and final rubber on the hard court inside Prague's O2 Arena on Sunday, defeating Nicolas Almagro in four sets, 6-4, 7-6 (7-0), 3-6, 6-3.

With the victory, the Czechs have successfully avenged their embarrassing 5-0 defeat to Spain on the clay courts of Barcelona in 2009 Davis Cup Final. This is the country's second Davis Cup title and first since 1980, when it was Czechoslovakia. 

Spain had won three of the past four Davis Cups coming into this November's final tie, but was clearly not the same team without 11-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal available to play.

World No. 5 David Ferrer got 2011 Davis Cup champion Spain off to a strong start on Day 1, defeating Stepanek in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4, 6-3, to put the visiting nation ahead 1-0. But world No. 6 Tomas Berdych would pull the Czech Republic even at 1-1 with a thrilling five-set win over Almagro, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-7 (7-5), 6-3.

The Czechs would get a huge boost on Day 2, when Berdych and Stepanek teamed up and eventually rallied to earn an impressive doubles win over the 2012 ATP World Tour Finals champion pair of Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez, 3-6, 7-5, 7-5, 6-3.

Leading 2-1 entering Day 3, the Spanish needed to win both singles rubbers in order to achieve back-to-back titles. They got their wish in the first singles match, when Ferrer steamrolled Berdych, winning in straight sets, 7-5, 6-3, 6-2.

But in the end, the loss of Nadal cost Spain as Almagro came up short against Stepanek despite forcing a fourth set.


Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.

Follow _Pat_Clarke on Twitter