(Updates with Saturday's doubles)


The Czech doubles duo of Radek Stepanek and Tomas Berdych topped Spain's Marc Lopez and Marcel Granollers 3-6, 7-5, 7-5, 6-3 here Saturday to give their country a 2-1 lead in the Davis Cup final.

Lopez and Granollers were fresh off victory at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London, but they struggled to adapt to the faster conditions at the O2 Arena in Prague.

The Spanish team came out firing on all cylinders in the first set, with Granollers losing just two points in his service games and cat-quick at the net.

The teams traded service breaks in the second set, but the Czechs avoided a tiebreaker and evened the match at a set apiece by breaking Lopez's serve in the 12th game.

Stepanek and Berdych dominated their service games in the third set and waited for the chance to break, which came once again just before the tiebreaker.

Lopez's serve again proved vulnerable and the O2 Arena exploded with joy when Berdych knocked away an easy backhand volley to give the Czechs a two-set-to-one lead.

With the momentum firmly on their side, Stepanek and Berdych lifted their level even higher and even broke Granollers' serve for the first time in the match midway through the fourth set.

Three games later, Berdych served out the victory.

"We played average the whole match, the first somewhat better and in the second with a break point at 5-5, but we didn't capitalize on the chances we had," Lopez told Spain's TVE television at the end of the match.

"The court is very fast and it's tough to return. You have to be very precise and in the second and third we weren't precise."

Granollers' assessment was harsher.

"It was a bad match on our part. We only played well in the first and then on these courts the match comes down to little details."

Stepanek put the win down to experience in this international team competition.

"We know what we are capable to do in Davis Cup. And we also know that the doubles points matter and we played together so many times, so we have all the experience we can have."

Berdych, meanwhile, looked ahead to the nerve-wracking reverse singles on Sunday.

"It's incredible. It's just one point. We'll do everything for that," the world No. 6 said. "I'm ready to do it tomorrow. I'll try to come with my strong game, and with the crowd on my back, it would be a good combination to make it."

Berdych had evened the final at 1-1 with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 6-3 singles win Friday over Nicolas Almagro, while earlier that day Ferrer got Spain off to a strong start with a straight-set win over Stepanek.

Sunday's action will kick off with the country's respective No. 1s, Ferrer and Berdych, taking the court. If Ferrer gets the win, this year's Davis Cup will come down to a contest between Stepanek and Almagro.

Stepanek, a wily 33-year-old veteran, anticipated that potential decider in remarks to reporters on Saturday.

"He played very well against Tomas (on Friday) but they already had a point in their locker room so he played very freely," he said. "When it comes to the last rubber it will be a completely different story."

Spain is seeking its sixth Davis Cup championship, with all of the previous five coming between 2000 and 2011. The Czechs' only title in tennis' premier international team competition came in 1980, when Ivan Lendl led Czechoslovakia to a 4-1 victory over Italy in the final in Prague. EFE