Berdych, Stepanek send Czechs into final
Radek Stepanek and Tomas Berdych led holders Czech Republic to a third Davis Cup final in five years after breezing past Argentina's Carlos Berlocq and Horacio Zeballos in Saturday’s doubles.
Stepanek and Berdych won 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 in two hours and three minutes to earn an unbeatable 3-0 lead after they had dominated Friday’s singles.
The Czechs, who won the 2012 trophy by beating Spain 3-2 here, will travel to either Canada or Serbia for the November 15-17 final.
“It’s pure fantasy, the guys played at a hundred percent again,” said team captain Jaroslav Navratil.
“They didn't give the Argentinians a chance, they wiped them out, and we're very happy we can fight for the lovely trophy again after a year,” he added.
“We would like to keep the trophy because it's beautiful,” said Stepanek.
The Czech duo on Saturday won the 13th of their 14 Davis Cup doubles rubbers together since teaming up in 2007, while Berlocq and Zeballos played their debut doubles match together.
On Friday, Rafael Nadal showed no hint of a US Open hangover as he crushed Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-0, 6-0, 6-4 to put Spain 2-0 up on Ukraine in their Davis Cup World Group play-off in Madrid on Friday.
The world number two and new US Open champion returned to action less than four days after securing a second success at Flushing Meadows, and a 13th Grand Slam in total.
Yet he showed no signs of fatigue as he mastered his favourite clay surface and in so doing inflicted a humiliating defeat on the world 92nd ranked player who dumped Roger Federer out of Wimbledon in July.
“It is a positive moment and a very special year for me, arguably the best,” Nadal said.
“I have played in 11 finals and won 10 tournaments so I can’t ask for more. I feel comfortable, I feel like I am playing well but from experience I know they are moments that come and go and I have to enjoy them.”
Earlier, Fernando Verdasco had battled back from a set down to beat world number 40 Alexandr Dolgopolov 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 to put Spain firmly in command.
Another player to dish out a tennis lesson was Britain’s Andy Murray, who thumped 16-year-old Borna Coric 6-3, 6-0, 6-3 as Croatia and Britain finished the day tied at 1-1 in Umag.