Ferrer to open Davis Cup final

  • By: Andy Schooler
  • Last Updated: November 15 2012, 18:47 GMT

World number five David Ferrer will face Radek Stepanek in the opening rubber of the 100th Davis Cup final on Friday.

David Ferrer: Opens final against Radek Stepanek

Spain are looking to defend the trophy they won last year but face a tough challenge having been forced to travel to the Czech Republic.

To counteract Spain's claycourt prowess, the Czechs have laid a medium-fast indoor hardcourt for the tie at Prague's O2 Arena.

That should certainly suit Czech number one Tomas Berdych, who will face Nicolas Almagro in Friday's second rubber.

The Czechs have named Ivo Minar and Lukas Rosol, the Wimbledon conqueror of Rafael Nadal, to play Saturday's doubles, although most expect captain Jaroslav Navratil to turn to Berdych and Stepanek for that rubber - the pair have a 11-1 record in Davis Cup doubles.

Spain pick Marc Lopez and Marcel Granollers, the recent winners of the ATP World Tour Finals doubles tournament, as their pair.

The reverse singles - Berdych v Ferrer and Stepanek v Almagro - are scheduled for Sunday.

Spain captain Alex Corretja insists his players should not be regarded as favourites to triumph.

Corretja's cautious tone has no doubt been exacerbated by the ongoing absence of the injured Rafael Nadal, although the skipper says victory remains the only target despite being shorn of the team's talisman.

"We're here to win; we didn't come here to lose," Corretja told daviscup.com.

"But we need to do very well and I believe our opponents, playing at home, are favourites."

Berdych agrees that Spain's 5-0 win over his country in the final in Barcelona three years ago means little heading into the re-match.

"For the final in Barcelona we were in completely a different position and all that was against us is now going to be on our side," said Berdych.

"It's still on us players to go there and fight for the three points [that would secure victory]. We will do everything we possibly can."

This weekend's tie represents the 100th staging of the Davis Cup final, adding extra spice to the contest for both teams, but Corretja claims his players are not being distracted by the milestone.

"It would be unbelievable to win the 100th one," he said.

"It would be very nice again to see Spain win in the 100th in history, but we don't feel more pressure."

A win for Spain would see them lift the trophy for the fourth time in five years.

Czechoslovakia won the competition back in 1980 but since that country split in two, the Czechs have not got their hands on the trophy, their best effort being when they finished runners-up to Spain three years ago.

Should they win the trophy this weekend, the Czech Republic will become the first country since the USA in 1990 to win both the Davis and Fed Cup competitions in the same season.

The Czech women beat Serbia earlier this month to win the Fed Cup, which has changed format since the USA achieved their double 22 years ago.


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