Buenos Aires, Argentina – Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek posted a straight-set doubles victory on Saturday to give the Czech Republic a 2-1 lead in their Davis Cup semifinal against Argentina.
Berdych and Stepanek rolled to a 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 triumph over the Argentine tandem of Carlos Berlocq and Eduardo Schwank, leaving the Czechs just one win away from their second trip to the Davis Cup final.
Both Czech veterans played Friday, with Berdych beating Juan Monaco in five sets after Stepanek had lost in three to Juan Martin del Potro. The Czech duo was not originally slated for doubles, with Ivo Minar and Lukas Rosol the scheduled team, but captain Jaroslav Navratil made the switch.
It proved to be a wise choice, as Berdych and Stepanek improved to 11-1 as a team.
Berdych, a U.S. Open semifinalist last week, will get the first chance to win it for the Czechs on Sunday when he takes on del Potro in the first reverse singles match. Stepanek and Monaco are slated for the fifth rubber.
The Czechs are 3-1 all-time versus the Argentines in Davis Cup play, including a win in their last meeting in a quarterfinal in Ostrava in 2009. The Czechs went on to the Davis Cup final that year, losing to Spain in a sweep.
Argentina lost to Spain in last year's World Group final in Seville, falling to 0-4 in Davis Cup finals.
The Argentina-Czech Republic winner will meet the Spain-United States victor in the final in November.