The Czech Republic now has a 2-1 lead over Spain in the 2012 Davis Cup Final after the team of Radek Stepanek and Tomas Berdych defeated the Spanish pair of Marc Lopez and Marcel Granollers in four sets, 3-6, 7-5, 7-5, 6-3. The match was incredibly tight, and the numbers bear it out. The Czechs were 45 percent on break points, the Spaniards 40 percent. The Czechs had 51 winners, the Spaniards 57. The main advantage the Czechs had, and the reason they pulled it out, was they only made 26 unforced errors to the Spaniards' 35.
Berdych and Stepanek are the horses for the Czechs, since they are also the two singles players in the match. Stepanek lost his first match to David Ferrer while Berdych defeated Nicolas Almagro on Friday. Ferrer and Berdych are the two best players on their respective teams and the Nos. 5 and 6 players in the world, respectively, so they appear to be evenly matched. The Spanish appear to have an edge in the other match, as Almagro is the 11th-ranked player in the world while Stepanek is No. 37.
The beauty of the Davis Cup, however, is that rankings rarely matter. This event is more important to its participants than the Olympics in terms of pride for one's country, and that's why no team has been dominant in the event in recent years. Sunday should be a great day of tennis.