Czechs leads Serbia 2-1 in Davis Cup
Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek won their 10th Davis Cup doubles for the Czech Republic to take a 2-1 lead over Serbia on Saturday in a quarterfinal still roiling with accusations of poor conduct.
The Czech pair cruised past Ilija Bozoljac and Nenad Zimonjic 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 (4) on a red clay indoor court at O2 Arena to extend their Davis Cup doubles record to 10-1. They plan to team up for the London Olympics.
Stepanek converted the first match point with a serve winner.
''It was again a great teamwork,'' Stepanek said.
The Czechs need one more point to reach their third semifinals in four years and to avenge a 3-2 loss to Serbia in the 2010 semifinals. Serbia seeks its third consecutive semis.
In Sunday's reverse singles, Berdych faces Janko Tipsarevic in a matchup of two top-10 players.
''I feel good,'' Berdych said. ''I have two successful matches behind me. The most important thing for me is to play my aggressive tennis. I certainly have a chance to succeed.''
Zimonjic commented on Friday's incident after Tipsarevic beat Stepanek in a five-hour five-setter to level the tie. Following their handshake at the net, Tipsarevic had to be pulled away by his captain from a confrontation with Stepanek, who he accused of giving him a middle finger and telling him ''something very bad.''
Zimonjic said on Saturday he was not surprised by the incident.
''I've been on the tour for quite a while and played many times against Stepanek so he did something that you can expect to him. I think he's the least likable guy on the tour, especially on the court,'' he said. ''I was really shocked.''
Stepanek denied again any wrongdoing.
''It's not true that I said what he presents,'' Stepanek said on Saturday. ''We shook hands and I don't want to comment any more at the moment because the most important day (of the tie) is ahead of us. We need to get the third point and that's the only thing we focus on.''
The Czech pair, relying on Berdych's powerful serve and effective returns and Stepanek's volleys, was rarely troubled in the first two sets.
Berdych's backhand volley down the middle broke Zimonjic, the highest-ranked doubles player on court at No. 6, to go 3-2 up in the opening set.
The Serbs broke Stepanek in the eighth game but Zimonjic was broken again in the following game and Berdych served the set out.
In the second set, the Czechs broke Zimonjic with Stepanek's well-placed lob for 2-1 before Bozoljac double-faulted twice to drop his serve to trail 4-1, and Berdych served it out with an ace.
The Serbs managed to respond in the third when Stepanek, the Australian Open doubles champ, netted a volley to drop his serve in the second game and Zimonjic fired an ace to jump to a 3-0 lead after saving six break points. But Bozoljac double-faulted in the fifth game, allowing the Czechs to force a tie break.
''The Czech team was a little bit more consistent today on the court, that's the reason why they won,'' Bozoljac said. ''They played the important points better.''
The winner will face Argentina or Croatia in September's semis.