Spain's David Ferrer wins first rubber of Davis Cup final against Radek Stepanek
Spain drew first blood in the Davis Cup final through David Ferrer before Tomas Berdych levelled for Czech Republic.
Last Updated: 17/11/12 3:41pm
The Czechs have not won the title in 32 and they have fallen behind following Ferrer's straight-sets success over the veteran in Prague.
The pair were on serve in the first set before Ferrer finally broke in the ninth game, converting his ninth break point as Stepanek double-faulted for the fifth time in the match.
Ferrer held his serve to take the set 6-3 and the momentum carried through to the second set with an immediate break in the opening game.
Stepanek found himself 2-0 down, but fought back to lead 4-3 only for Ferrer to dig deep once again and take the set by securing the last three games.
Ferrer, as in the second set, claimed an opening game break in the third, but he failed to close out the match when serving for the set at 5-2 up.
But the Spaniard needed no second invitation to seal the win after Stepanek held his serve as a backhand into the net from the veteran concluded the contest.
Ferrer was naturally delighted to secure the point for Spain, although he knows there is a lot of tennis to come if they are to secure a fourth title in five years.
In the second match Tomas Berdych beat Nicolas Almagro 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 to level the final.
"I played very well throughout the match. I'm very happy with my game," said the 30-year-old. "It was very important to win the first point.
"I was lucky because in the important moments I played better than Radek. We're 1-0 up, but we haven't finished the tie, it's a very long one."