The top players for both countries were victorious on Friday, setting up a crucial doubles match on Saturday.
World No. 5 David Ferrer and No. 6 Tomas Berdych were victorious for their countries on Day 1 of the 2012 Davis Cup final between Spain and the Czech Republic. The two stars each earned a point in the best-of-five series on Friday, and that means all three days are guaranteed to have meaningful play.
Spain's Ferrer opened the day with straight-set, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 victory over the Czech Republic's Radek Stepanek. Ferrer is now 7-3 against Stepanek, including a victory in the 2009 Davis Cup final. The Spaniard has not lost a match in the Davis Cup since 2010.
Berdych was given all he could handle, but brought his country back with a five-set, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-3 win over No. 11 Nicolas Almagro in the second match of the day. Berdych was dominant on his first serve, neutralizing Almagro's advantage on winners.
The win for Berdych means the Czech Republic is already faring better than they did in the 2009 final, when Spain won in a 5-0 sweep. Berdych barely backed up his talk from earlier this week, when he declared that Almagro would be the "weak link" of the weekend.
The all-important doubles match is scheduled for Saturday, with the singles match-ups to be flipped on a decisive Sunday.