DUESSELDORF (Germany): Chile clinched their first World Team Cup title yesterday after Fernando Gonzalez and Nicolas Massu beat Jiri Novak and Radek Stepanek in the deciding doubles for a 2-1 victory over the Czech Republic.
Gonzalez gave Chile the lead with a 7-6, 7-6 win over Novak before Stepanek defeated Marcelo Rios 6-3, 7-6 to level the tie.
The Chilean pair then overpowered Novak and Stepanek 6-4, 6-2 to win the trophy in Chiles fourth appearance in the event.
Having dropped only one rubber in their three group matches, Chile made the perfect start.
Gonzalez looked in serious danger of losing his first set of the week when Novak raced to a 4-0 lead in just nine minutes, but a break of serve in the fifth game settled his nerves.
Another break in the seventh game put him back on terms and after holding on to force a tiebreak, which he took 7-4.
Rain forced the players off court for an hour during the second set and when they returned, Novak forged ahead again but when he served for the set at 5-4, Gonzalez showed great resistance and resolve to break back.
Novak saved two match points at 5-6 to force a second tiebreak but Gonzalez clinched victory on his third match point.
After Chiles win over defending champions Argentina on Friday, Rios had warned that he could struggle against Stepanek, and so it proved as the Czechs guile took him to the first set in 30 minutes.
Rios, who impressed in his victory over Gaston Gaudio on Friday, broke Stepanek to lead 3-1 in the second set only to hand the break back to the Czech in the very next game.
Games then stayed on serve until the 11th when, after saving two break points with some brave play, Rios netted a forehand to give Stepanek the chance to serve out for victory.
However, Rios took advantage of his third break point to level at 6-6 and force a tiebreak in which Stepanek raced into a 5-0 lead and held on to win it 7-5 and clinch a 6-3 7-6 victory.
Both doubles teams had won their three rubbers going into the deciding match but Gonzalez and Massu were inspired as they raced to a 5-2 lead in the opening set.
The Czech got one of the breaks back but the Chileans held their nerve to clinch it 6-4 and they continued their aggressive tennis to race to a 5-1 lead in the second set.
Novak and Stepanek postponed the inevitable by holding serve for 5-2 but after wasting their first two match points, Gonzalez and Massu clinched victory on their third to take the title. Reuters