David Ferrer got Spain off to a strong start in the Davis Cup final, trouncing Czech Radek Stepanek 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 here Friday in the opening singles match.
Demonstrating the solid baseline play he is known for and blocking out the enthusiastic crowd of 8,000 spectators, the 30-year-old Ferrer took the match in just under three hours.
The veteran Czech, 33, was unable to take advantage of the quick indoor hard court surface at Prague's O2 Arena, winning a paltry 51 percent of his first-serve points and repeatedly struggling to hold serve.
For the match, Stepanek faced a whopping 25 break points. Although Ferrer's conversion rate was poor, the five service breaks he earned proved sufficient.
Stepanek, known for his attacking style, tried to pressure the Spaniard with constant net approaches, but he was only able to win 58 percent of those points due to Ferrer's strong passing shots and defense.
The Czech also committed a total of 46 unforced errors for the match, compared to 30 for Ferrer, and expressed displeasure with the pressure of the balls.
With the win, Ferrer notched his seventh win in 10 matches against Stepanek and ran his career Davis Cup record to 22-4.
Friday's second singles match will pit Spain's Nicolas Almagro, the world's 11th-ranked player, against Czech world No. 6 Tomas Berdych.
Spain is seeking its sixth Davis Cup championship, while the Czechs' only title in tennis' premier international team competition came in 1980. EFE