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Stepanek savours famous win

Posted 11-27-2012 at 10:38 AM by Philip Oliver
World number 37 Radek Stepanek sealed his place in Czech folklore with a thrilling victory over Nicolas Almagro in Sunday's Davis Cup final decider.

Stepanek, ranked 26 places below his Spanish opponent and vast outsider according to the betting line, produced a stunning performance in the fifth rubber to stun Almagro and claim a 6-4 7-6 (7-0) 3-6 6-3 win in front of a partisan home crowd in Prague's O2 Arena.

David Ferrer had earlier brought Spain level at 2-2 with a 6-2 6-3 7-5 win over Tomas Berdych, but the world number five's triumph was in vain as Stepanek fulfilled a lifelong dream.

"I was dreaming about it my whole life. It's amazing. I cannot describe what I'm feeling right now," he told news sport reporters, gazing at the trophy.

"I was playing very aggressive today. I didn't want to leave anything behind. I wanted to be the one who is active, who is controlling the game. It paid off. Even though I lost the third set I had no doubt I was playing well tactically."

While Stepanek revelled in his country's first Davis Cup title in 32 years, Almagro was left to reflect on what might have been. He was philosophical in defeat.

"These are very tough moments, but we can't be down on ourselves in any way as we fought to the last moment," he told Spanish broadcaster TVE.

"We are runners-up in the Davis Cup. It's not what we wanted as we came here to win the title but we are leaving with our heads held high knowing that we did a good job."

Spain missed out on a fourth title in five years, while the Czech Republic became the first nation to simultaneously hold the Davis, Fed and Hopman Cups.
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