Stepanek shocks Spain to snatch Davis Cup for Czech Republic


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The Independent Online

The Czech Republic have won the Davis Cup for the first time as an independent nation.

Radek Stepanek shocked Nicolas Almagro in the final reverse singles in Prague to give the Czech Republic a 3-2 victory in the final. The 37th-ranked Stepanek beat his 11th-ranked opponent 6-4, 7-6, 3-6, 6-3.

Stepanek, who displayed some fine play at the net, converted his second match point to send more than 14,500 noisy fans at the O2 Arena into wild celebration. The victory means the Czechs have completed a rare double just two weeks after the women secured the Fed Cup title in the same arena. No country has won both competitions in the same year since the United States in 1990. The Czechs' only victory came in 1980 as Czechoslovakia, which split in 1993.

"I was dreaming about this my whole life and today we're standing here the winners," said a tearful Stepanek. "We've written history today in our country. I can't describe what I'm feeling."

The 2012 Davis Cup champions were also joined on court for the trophy ceremony by their 1980 winning predecessors.

Stepanek spoke about having the whole team here all weekend to support them: "For us it's amazing, they've been our inspiration and our idols. They are legends, and now we are joining them."

Team captain Jaroslav Navratil was asked if he would be getting drunk tonight in the celebrations. "A little bit," he smiled.