David Ferrer put holder Spain 1-0 ahead in the Davis Cup final against host Czech Republic here on Friday after beating Radek Stepanek 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.

Ferrer, the world number five, outplayed the 37th-ranked Stepanek on the hardcourt of Prague’s O2 Arena in two hours and 58 minutes.

“I played very well. I’m very happy with my game,” Ferrer said after the match.

“We’re 1-0 up, but we haven’t finished the tie, it’s a very long one,” he added. Despite concerns about a very fast court prepared by the host, Ferrer said he felt comfortable.

“It was very fast but I received very well,” he added.

Before the rubber, Ferrer predicted a close game recalling a five-setter they played in the 2009 Davis Cup final when he finally helped Spain thrash the Czechs 5-0.

But Stepanek, the Czech number two player, offered little resistance.

In the first set, Stepanek came back from 0-40 through 11 deuces in game six but then lost his serve two games later.

Ferrer then took the second set with two breaks against Stepanek’s one, before completing the job after converting his second match point following another two breaks in the last set.

Spain is missing world number four Rafael Nadal, sidelined with a knee injury.

The result: Czech Republic 0, Spain 1 (Radek Stepanek lost to David Ferrer 3-6, 4-6, 4-6. — AFP

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