Spaniards complete Davis Cup rout

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The Independent Online

Spain completed a 5-0 Davis Cup final victory over Czech Republic with Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer enjoying easy singles wins yesterday.

Nadal, who set Spain on their way to victory by winning the first rubber against Tomas Berdych early on Friday, returned to the clay court at the Palau Sant Jordi to post a 6-3 6-4 win over Jan Hajek, the world No 102.

Ferrer, whose five-set victory over Radek Stepanek set up Spain's 2-0 lead on Friday night, rounded things off with a more straightforward 6-4 6-2 win against the doubles specialist Lukas Dlouhy.

Spain made certain of their fourth Davis Cup win when they took an unbeatable 3-0 lead after Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez overcame Berdych and Stepanek in the doubles on Saturday, before the two closing victories yesterday made them the first team to achieve a whitewash in the final since Sweden beat the United States 5-0 in 1997. They are also the first country to successfully defend the title since the Swedes in 1998.

There was a slightly muted air about the celebrations when the Spanish team finally received the silver salad bowl trophy.

"It is a little strange to have to wait until today for the presentations," the Spanish captain Albert Costa said in a news conference. "But winning the Davis Cup two years in a row is a spectacular achievement. We should value it enormously."

It was a satisfying weekend all round for the hosts, with Nadal showing he has recovered form and fitness at the end of a trying season and Ferrer's heroic win over Stepanek providing epic drama with a happy ending for the huge crowd.

"To win the Davis Cup four times in nine years just says everything," Stepanek said of Spanish tennis. "You have a huge amount of players and tennis centres, and there's always someone coming up. The toughness and the team is so strong that you could even build a second team almost as strong."