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Ferrer gives lead

Prague: David Ferrer opened Spain’s bid for its fourth Davis Cup title in five years with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic in the opening singles match of the final Friday.

The fifth-ranked Ferrer, who won a Tour-best seven titles this season, started slowly but soon took control before cruising to his 75th victory of the year.

Unbeaten in the competition since 2010, Ferrer put the visitors ahead 1-0 in the best-of-five series after closing out on his second match point to improve to 22-4 in the Davis Cup.

Ferrer also beat Stepanek in five sets in the 2009 final that Spain swept 5-0.