The 2012 Davis Cup final contains a big difference in strength in depth. Czech Republic have reached the final thanks purely to Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek, with all live rubbers in this year’s World Group contested by this pair. Spain have eight players in the top 50 of the singles rankings to choose from (Click here for tennis betting previews )
The defending champions have been forced to find new winning combinations due to Rafael Nadal’s continued injury problems, with David Ferrer and Nicolas Almagro stepping up to the plate admirably. The latter has won all five singles rubbers this year, whilst Ferrer showed his big match temperament in winning crucial matches against Sam Querrey and John Isner in the semi-finals.
Spain are attempting to win their fourth title in five years, with one of those wins coming courtesy of a 5-0 thrashing of Czech Republic in 2009. The Czechs’ reliance on Berdych and Stepanek is shown by the fact they played the first three matches of that one-sided final, but they are surely better for the experience.
They have built a good doubles partnership, aided largely by Stepanek’s improved form this year – he won his maiden doubles slam title at Melbourne in January. Berdych is playing as well as he ever has done, sitting at a career high singles ranking of six and with his impressive US Open win over Roger Federer fresh in the memory.
As noted by punters on Betfair Tennis forums the home advantage enjoyed by the Czechs should not be under-estimated. Only twice in the last nine finals have the away team triumphed, with one of those being Spain’s victory on Argentinean clay in 2008, hardly alien conditions.
The indoor hard court at Prague’s O2 Arena will certainly be a leveller for Berdych and Stepanek, who should go into the third day with the tie still alive. However, Ferrer’s tenacity and endurance is suited to the Davis Cup and his superior head-to-head records against his opponents could prove decisive