OSTRAVA, Czech Republic – Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek won the opening singles matches Friday, sending the Czech Republic to a 2-0 lead over Italy in the first round of the Davis Cup.
Stepanek had to dig deep to overcome Andreas Seppi 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. Then, No. 7-ranked Berdych fought harder than expected to defeat the 135th-ranked Simone Bolelli 6-3, 4-6, 7-5, 6-2.
The Czechs need one more victory to win the best-of-five series in the World Group. They are expected to use Berdych and Stepanek in Saturday's doubles against Daniele Braccialli and Potito Starace. Reverse singles are Sunday.
The winner will face Serbia or Sweden in the quarterfinals in April.