Barcelona: David Ferrer produced an epic comeback to beat Radek Stepanek and put Spain 2-0 up in the Davis Cup final against Czech Republic on Friday after Rafael Nadal's earlier victory had given the hosts an ideal start.
Nadal, relishing a return to clay, brushed aside Tomas Berdych 7-5, 6-0, 6-2 to announce his return to form in the opening rubber of the best-of-five match at the indoor Palau Sant Jordi.
The Czechs seemed certain to level the tie as Stepanek set about dismantling the Ferrer serve in the opening two, hopelessly one-sided sets.
The Davis Cup has a habit of producing great comebacks, however, and feeding off the boisterous home support among the 16,200 capacity crowd Ferrer somehow contrived to take a 1-6, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, 8-6 win before collapsing in joy and exhaustion.
Czech captain Jaroslav Navratil has named the unheralded Lukas Dlouhy and Jan Hajek as his doubles team to play Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco on Saturday but has the option of reverting to the regular Berdych-Stepanek partnership.
The Czechs need to win the doubles to keep the tie alive for the reverse singles on Sunday.
Spain are the defending champions and three-times winners. The Czechs won the competition for the only time, as Czechoslovakia, in 1980.