Czech Republic double up as veteran Radek Stepanek keeps his nerve

Story highlights

  • Czech Republic win Davis Cup final beating Serbia 3-2
  • Czechs retain the trophy they won last year
  • Radek Stepanek wins the deciding singles
  • Novak Djokovic had extended winning run to 24 to draw Serbia level

Radek Stepanek drew on his vast experience to give a tennis lesson to Serbia's Dusan Lajovic in the deciding singles as the Czech Republic retained the Davis Cup Sunday.

The 34-year-old Stepanek kept his composure in front of a partisan crowd in the Belgrade Arena to win 6-3 6-1 6-1 in one hour 52 minutes of largely one sided action..

Lajovic, a lowly 117 in the world, could not capitalize on the momentum built by Novak Djokovic, who beat Tomas Berdych in straight sets to level the tie at 2-2 ahead of the decider..

World No.2 Djokovic, fresh from his triumph at the ATP World Tour Finals, was winning his 24th straight match since the U.S. Open, but it was all to no avail.

Read: Djokovic sits it out as Czechs win doubles

Stepanek, who had paired with Berdych to win the crucial doubles for the reigning champions Saturday, was stunned in the very first game as he saw Lajovic break his service.

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But he hit back with two breaks of his own to take control and with it the first set.

    Three breaks of service in the second set saw him take a stranglehold on the match and the third set followed a similar pattern.

    Serving for the coveted team title, he made no mistake and completed victory with a decisive smash.

    By then many of the home crowd had departed, leaving a band of Czech supporters to celebrate their repeat success wildly.

    2010 champions Serbia went into the final deprived of Janko Tipsarevic, who is injured and Viktor Troicki, serving a controversial doping ban.

    Read: Can Davis Cup become the World Cup of tennis?

    Djokovic sat out the doubles and despite beating Berdych 6-4 7-6 6-2 with another impressive display on indoor courts it was always likely that Lajovic's inexperience would be exploited by the canny Stepanek.

    "I don't think words can describe it. It is completely different from the first time. To defend this trophy means the world," Stepanek told the official Davis Cup website..

    "Playing in Serbia on their surface in front of their fans... we made history today."

    Czech captain Vladimir Safarik paid tribute to Stepanek, who was also the hero last year as he beat Spain's Nicolas Almagro in the deciding singles of the final.

    "Radek is a real professional. In the final of the fifth rubber, to win 63 61 61 is something amazing."

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