PRAGUE, Nov 16 (Reuters) - David Ferrer gave Spain a 1-0 lead over the Czech Republic in the Davis Cup final by beating Radek Stepanek 6-3 6-4 6-4 after a hard-fought match on Friday.
"It wasn't a stroll by any means, it cost me a lot of effort. Above all it was hard for me to finish off the points," Ferrer, Spain's top player in the absence of the injured former world number one Rafa Nadal, told Spanish television.
Spain are bidding for their fourth Davis Cup crown in five years, while the Czechs aim to become the first country in 22 years to win the men's and women's team titles in the same year.
Tomas Berdych, the leading Czech player, will take on Nicolas Almagro in the second match later on Friday. (Reporting by Jason Hovet; Editing by Ken Ferris)