Tomas Berdych’s Czech Republic play host David Ferrer’s Spain in the 100th Davis Cup Final this weekend at Prague’s O2 Arena, exclusively live on British Eurosport 2.
After two thrilling semi-finals in September it promises to an exciting climax to the 2012 World Group tournament, with defending champions Spain travelling to Prague to face the Czechs on their home patch.
The Czech side, led by 2010 Wimbledon runner-up Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek, will be looking for revenge after being whitewashed in the 2009 Davis Cup Final to the same opponents in 2009.
They will be hoping that home advantage counts inside the O2 Arena, as Berdych and Stepanek will play the all the singles rubbers, with Lukas Rosol – who famously beat Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon in June – and Ivo Minar pairing up for the doubles rubber on Saturday.
History suggests it will be a difficult ask for them however, with the Czechs currently on a three match losing streak against the top-ranked Davis Cup nation.
Czech Republic reached the final thanks to victories against Italy and Serbia at home in the first two rounds followed by a shock defeat of Argentina at the Parque Roca in the semi-final.
Juan Martin del Potro had put the home side ahead in the first rubber with victory over Stepanek but two wins from Berdych either side of success in the doubles when the two Czech players combined for their 11th victory in twelve matches together in the competition turned the tie around.
Though they have history mounted against them as they look for a first victory over Spain since playing under the flag of Czechoslovakia in 1971 and are currently on a three match losing streak against the top ranked Davis Cup nation.
However, only once in the last six years has a nation managed to win the title playing away from home, that team being Spain who won in Argentina in 2008.
The title has not made its way to Prague since 1980 with this being only the second final to feature the Czechs since that victory, and they will be looking to win the Davis Cup for the first time as an independent nation.
The visiting Spanish team have been hugely impressive in this tournament in recent years, winning four out of the last five Davis Cups, but will be missing Rafael Nadal through injury.
While Nadal’s absence is undoubtedly a blow to the Spanish hopes of winning a sixth Davis Cup title, they have strength and depth in every department.
David Ferrer has won more ATP titles this season than anyone else, and secured his first ATP Masters 1000 title in Paris earlier this month.
Ferrer spearheads at team that also includes Nicolas Almagro, as well as the doubles pairing of Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez , who are full of confidence following their triumph at last week’s ATP World Tour Finals in London.
The absence of Nadal from the Spanish side has allowed other players a chance to shine, most notably Nicolas Almagro who is unbeaten in five singles rubbers through the year.
Kazakhstan and Austria put up little fight against the Spain’s ever increasing unbeaten home record in the early rounds.
Although Jim Courier’s USA team fought hard through four gruelling rubbers they too were brushed aside in part thanks to David Ferrer’s determination as he won marathon matches against both Sam Querrey and John Isner.
Spain are looking for their fourth title in five years and their sixth overall having won the competition for the first time in 2000.
The 100th Davis Cup Final promises to be an intriguing encounter and a celebration of an extraordinary year of tennis.
British Eurosport will have exclusive coverage of the conclusion to the 2012 competition.
Every rubber will be broadcast in full on British Eurosport 2, with Rob Curling presenting the live action across all three days.
He will be joined in the Eurosport studios by Greg Rusedski and Andrew Castle, while commentary duties will be shared by Simon Reed, Chris Bradnam, Frew McMillan and Nick Brown.
Friday 16th November Day 1 – Singles x2 | Start Time: 3.00pm Radek Stepanek (CZE) v David Ferrer (ESP) Tomas Berdych (CZE) v Nicolas Almagro (ESP) LIVE: 2.30pm-7.15pm – British Eurosport 2 Saturday 17th November Day 2 – Doubles | Start Time: 1.00pm Minar/Rosol (CZE) v Granollers/Lopez (ESP) LIVE: 12.30pm-3.15pm – British Eurosport 2 Sunday 18th November Day 3 – Reverse Singles x2 | Start Time: 12.00pm Tomas Berdych (CZE) v David Ferrer (ESP) Radek Stepanek (CZE) v Nicolas Almagro (ESP) LIVE: 11.30am-4.15pm – British Eurosport 2 . .