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18 November 2012

Ferrer sends final into decisive fifth rubber


MATCH REPORT

Photo: Paul Zimmer/Martin SidorjakDavid Ferrer (ESP) wins the fourth rubber

Follow this tie as it happens: Live scores or Watch Live


GAME, SET, MATCH SPAIN 62 63 75

Berdych 5-7 3-6 2-6 Ferrer*
Three short points set up 40-0 for Ferrer. A long baseline exchange ensues, concluding with a forehand into the net from Berdych. So that's it. As predicted a lot earlier, a live fifth rubber!!!!! The Spanish bench are linked and dancing in unison. A brave but sloppy performance from Berdych, but it was a lot to ask.

Berdych* 5-6 3-6 2-6 Ferrer
Jana Novotna's cheering on her man from the opposite end of the stands to a customary stoic Ivan Lendl. Meanwhile Ferrer's got two break points on the Czechs but he loses them immediately. He gets another chance to break at 40-Ad and does so when Berdych sends a backhand way out. Tomas is not happy. There was a dubious line call in that game which everyone hissed 'out' mid-way and he's challenging umpire Carlos Ramos on that. Ferrer will be serving for the match now...

Berdych 5-5 3-6 2-6 Ferrer*
Payback time for Ferrer as he holds to love too - albeit on a wicked error from Berdych, a smash sent way wide.

Berdych* 5-4 3-6 2-6 Ferrer
What a turnaround, what's going on? Are we getting over-excited? 40-0 on an ace for Berdych and can barely hear ourselves think, another huge serve and it's game and a wonderful excitement of 'what if' injects the crowd.

Berdych 4-4 3-6 2-6 Ferrer*
Just the thought of what could be up next is too much to bear. Will Stepanek be able to defy the rankings? Will Almagro choke under the pressure?
For a minute it sounds like the Czechs are winning this match but all it was is Berdych winning the first point off Ferrer's serve - the chants in the stadium are insane. Heaven knows what it will be like in a live fifth. But Berdych is pulling out some winners here..... like he's got nothing to lose. We're really seeing him going for it now...he can't be knocked down...he forces the game to 40-Ad.....he gets it! Ferrer sends a forehand wide! Berdych breaks to level the third set!

Berdych* 3-4 3-6 2-6 Ferrer
It's hard to remember the times when Berdych has won the first point off his serve in this match. Chants of "Ferru, Ferru" ringing out from the corner of the stadium. Ferrer sets up break point with a shot that would be out of anyone's reach but he lunges and swings it down the line and Berdych stumbles and nets. The break is saved with an ace and Berdych continues to survive through the next point. Just.

Berdych 2-4 3-6 2-6 Ferrer*
Berdych gets a look-in at 30-all but Ferrer is just all over the court, mastering the baseline, mastering the net, mastering the racket..... for Berdych it's just a case of doing enough to make his country proud.

Berdych* 2-3 3-6 2-6 Ferrer
An 8th ace of the match for Berdych to set up 40-0 but some insane groundstrokes followed by another beauty of a volley from Ferrer let's Berdych know that no game is ever going to be that easy. Berdych needs 3 chances to close the game. At the change of ends Navratil's calmly talking non-stop to Berdych while looking directly into the crowd above him. Lack of eye contact but reassuring words speaks volumes.

Berdych 1-3 3-6 2-6 Ferrer*
Ferrer gets to 40-0 before the Czech drummers can even get on their feet, concedes two gracious points to Berdych, before holding for a two sets and 3-1 lead.

Berdych* 1-2 3-6 2-6 Ferrer
Beautiful volley, touched with a balletic skip from Ferrer, gives Spain 0-30 on the Berdych serve. Berdych wins the next point - luckily - as what looks like a winning forehand down the line from Ferrer is called out. But the Spaniard sends down two consecutive winning forehands this time to get the crucial break.

Berdych 1-1 3-6 2-6 Ferrer*
Really unfortunate backhand volley from Berdych which should never have been missed sets up game point for Ferrer. When he's having to defend against Ferrer he's all over the place which is a clear sign of tiredness as this is not the Berdych we know.

Berdych* 1-0 3-6 2-6 Ferrer
Berdych has definitely picked up his serve in this match, a vast improvement, but is it enough to turn this match around? It's all about his energy levels, which aren't coming across as 100% at the moment.

SECOND SET SPAIN 62 63

Berdych 3-6 2-6 Ferrer*
The noise is deafening as Ferrer walks out to serve for the second set. He is hungry for this, you can hear it in every swing of his racket. He sets up set point with an ace. Berdych challenges and loses and then some deft net play by Ferrer seals the deal. Ferrer has won 100% of points played at the net. Neat.

Berdych* 3-5 2-6 Ferrer
Berdych chases down a 0-30 lead to Ferrer with some solid serving much to his relief and on game point at 40-30 he fires down what seems like his 3rd ace of the match to some screams from some excited Czech women, but it's called out. Ferrer wins the next point on an unforced error from Berdych, but some tactical play from the Czech and a over-forced forehand from Ferrer allows the Czechs to hold serve.

Berdych 2-5 2-6 Ferrer*
Ferrer finishes a long and steady baseline rally by shanking the ball into the rafters, and it lands into the Spanish fan contingency to their delight. 15-all. He's unperturbed (obviously) and goes on to win the next 3 points to hold serve. A rare lack of concentration there for the world No. 5.

Berdych* 2-4 2-6 Ferrer
Berdych serves one ace and then another and it seems like the last is in but it's actually called out and causes a bit of confusion on court. Berdych challenges and wins as Hawk-Eye shows the ball in by a slither. That's game point.

Berdych 1-4 2-6 Ferrer*
Bad slice backhand can't even reach the height of the net and Berdych loses his 15-30 lead. Ferrer throws down a 192 km/h to earn game point and seals. "We Will Rock You" booooooms around the stadium and what's left of the Spanish team are joining in, all smiles. And to the left, a dejected sight in the Czech camp.

Berdych* 1-3 2-6 Ferrer
None of Ferrer's teammates are courtside by now - not like he needs any extra support, this final looks like it's heading straight into a live fifth rubber. Exactly how it should be. Good to see Jana Novotna getting involved again from the presidential box - good catching skills.

Berdych 0-3 2-6 Ferrer*
Another love game for Ferrer and Berdych has been unable to win a game since the sixth of the first set. He leaves court. Without his captain.

Berdych* 0-2 2-6 Ferrer
Berdych opens with an ace but that's about as much as he can do against Ferrer in the first few points of the game, because Ferrer has got the door closed in his end of the court. Berdych does serve well to take the game to deuce but at 40-A, Ferrer outwits him again with a forehand that sears past the back of him. BREAK. The Spanish bench rouse the crowd behind them.

Berdych 0-1 2-6 Ferrer*
Some first set stats for you: 77% first serve and 80% points won on first serve for Ferrer compared to 59 and 53 from Berdych. And now Berdych also knows he's got to be in this for the long run. Ouch. Clean game for Ferrer to get his nose ahead in the second set.

FIRST SET SPAIN 62

Berdych* 2-6 Ferrer
Some heavy passion going on on the Kiss Me Cam! Once again Ferrer draws first blood on the Berdych serve, going up 0-30. Berdych hunts him down but Ferrer earns break and set point at 30-40. Two consecutive unforced errors, his 10th and 11th, give Berdych the chance to hold serve but the Czech can't seal the deal and several points later Ferrer gets the first set for Spain, just in time for Nicolas Almagro, who joins his team courtside.

Berdych 2-5 Ferrer*
First really exciting game of the match with some sensational rallies and it's Berdych who for the first time looks in control.  At break point, 15-40, Ferrer wrongfoots Berdych to narrow the gap. He loses game point at A-40 when Berdych sends an incredible backhand down the line and the Czechs in the stadium are up on their feet. Berdych then earns break point but Ferrer denies him. The Spaniard wins the next two points, sealing the game with his 5th ace of the match so far.

Berdych* 2-4 Ferrer
First double fault from the Czech hands Spain the first point of this game, and Ferrer follows up with another one his crazy forehands that lands out of Berdych's reach. 0-30. He tries to do the same again but just nets. Berdych lets another forehand go, thinking it will be out, but he rues the decision as Ferrer earns break point at 15-40. Berdych saves two and then fires through a Ferrer-esque forehand to take the advantage. He holds serve when Ferrer goes long.

Berdych 1-4 Ferrer*
Some well-thought out basline action from Berdych and he manages to outfox the relentless Ferrer by mixing up the pace of his groundstrokes, edging to a 15-30 lead. But Ferrer saves a break by throwing down an ace, and then two big serves that Berdych returns out.

Berdych* 1-3 Ferrer
A love game from the Czech and he's on the board which has got to boost his confidence for sure. He powers down a 206 km/h serve which seems to wow the Czech supporters alongside him.

Berdych 0-3 Ferrer*
A second ace from Ferrer to take it to 30-0 and he follows up to 40-0 by whipping away a drive volley, sealing the game with a winning forehand. The Spaniard's yet to lose a point on serve. It's a battle of the fans inside here - the Spanish are double the noise they were on Friday.

Berdych* 0-2 Ferrer
Berdych aces in this game which is what he's going to need to keep doing to keep the points short, but Ferrer is tailing him every step of the way, pushing him to deuce after running Berdych ragged around the court. Berdych sends a forehand long which he considers challenging but he's reassured that the call is good and he faces break point. A baseline exchange ends with a backhand from Berdych that eeks past the baseline and it's a break of serve to Spain.

Berdych 0-1 Ferrer*
It's a confident start from Ferrer as he opens with an ace and soars to the first point on the board  with a love game. We hear that Berdych is reportedly exhausted today. Ferrer has played more matches than anyone this year but has showed no signs of wipe-out - as he never does.

*Denotes server

13:00 MASSIVE cheers for Ivan Lendl who has been honoured on court with the Davis Cup Award of Excellence. Whistles, cheers, drums from both sets of fans, which you rarely hear.

12: 50 So here we are for the final day of the 100th Final - an amazing two days of tennis we've been part of already. What's going to happen in this first rubber is anyone's guess, it's just too tight to call. But guaranteed both players are going to fight to the end with so much at stake.

Berdych and Ferrer haven’t played each other for over a year, not since the 2011 ATP World Tour Finals. It was there that Berdych ended a four-match losing streak to Ferrer. Both are on an impressive unbeaten run in Davis Cup singles, both clinched the winning points in this year’s quarterfinals and semifinals. They are used to this kind of pressure.

Incidentally, Berdych could also become only the second player in Davis Cup history to win 11 live rubbers in one Davis Cup season if he wins today, following in the footsteps of Ivan Ljubicic who did so all the way to the title in 2005.

Tomas Berdych (CZE) - 18/11/2012

David Ferrer (ESP) - 18/11/2012

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