Even without the help of World No. 5 Tomas Berdych, the Czech Republic scored an emphatic victory over Japan to advance to the Davis Cup World Group semi-finals.
Japan were missing their No. 1 player Kei Nishikori who experienced the high of defeating Roger Federer in the Miami quarter-final, only to have to forfeit his semi-final slot against Novak Djokovic due to a groin injury. That injury ruled him out of representing Japan in this crucial tie, and the hosts battled honourably but to no avail.
Both Radek Stepanek and Lukas Rosol fought hard in their singles, with Rosol being taken to five sets by Taro Daniel, but the pair combined to deliver an emphatic straight sets doubles victory 6-4 6-4 6-4.
The pair were too strong for the Japanese duo, who maybe let the nerves and pressure get to them as errors mounted. Rosol played solidly from the baseline and Stepanek’s doubles strength continued to stand the Czechs in good stead.
"This was our first Davis Cup doubles together," said Stepanek. "We did well and found our range together. We had it under control from the first set."
"We finished the sets strongly today and are happy to be going to the semi-finals," Rosol stated. "It's always nice to have more players, but I think Radek and I played really well this weekend."
The two-time defending champions will meet the winner of the France v Germany tie when the semi-finals take place in September. Japan will remain in the World Group in 2015, despite the defeat.