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Tennis: Nishikori wins again, but Japan lose Davis Cup tie in Canada

Kei Nishikori beat Milos Raonic 3-2 in Vancouver on Sunday, but Japan lost 3-2 to Canada. Photo: AFP.

Kei Nishikori beat Milos Raonic 3-2 in Vancouver on Sunday, but Japan lost 3-2 to Canada. Photo: AFP.

March 9, 2015: World No. 4 Kei Nishikori beat World No. 6 Milos Raonic in a thrilling five-setter on Sunday, but it was not enough to prevent Japan from losing 3-2 to Canada in their David Cup World Group first-round match in Vancouver.

 

Nishikori, 25, came from behind to beat his great rival 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 to even the tie at 2-2, but Vasek Pospisil (World No. 62) won the tie for the hosts by beating Japan’s Go Soeda (World No. 86) 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre.

 

Canada will next travel to Belgium for the quarter-finals in July, while Japan will compete in the World Group playoffs in September.

 

Raonic, 24, had put Canada ahead on the first day when the 6′ 5″ power hitter comfortably beat Tatsuma Ito (World No. 85) 6-2, 6-1, 6-2 before Nishikori pulled the visitors level with a 6-4, 7-6(5), 6-3 win over Pospisil.

 

Canada then took a crucial 2-1 lead when doubles specialist Daniel Nestor and Pospisil outlasted Soeda and Yasutaka Uchiyama to win 7-5, 2-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

 

Kazakhstan underlined their burgeoning Davis Cup reputation by booking a quarter-final berth for the fourth time in five years. The Central Asian side will travel to face Australia – 3-2 winners over the Czech Republic – after humbling 2014 semi-finalists Italy in Astana despite entering the final day trailing 2-1.

 

Italy Captain Corrado Barazzutti’s decision to play Simone Bolelli ahead of No. 1 Fabio Fognini in the opening rubber backfired as World No. 58 Mikhail Kukushkin claimed a 7-6(6), 6-1, 6-2 victory, but Andreas Seppi levelled the tie with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-2 win over Andrey Golubev, No. 91.

 

Australian Open doubles champions Bolelli and Fognini put Italy ahead with a 7-6(4), 6-3, 6-7(13), 6-4 win over Golubev and Aleksandr Nedovyesov, but Kukushkin returned to beat Seppi 7-6(8), 6-0, 6-4 and send the tie into a decider.

 

Barazzutti recalled Fognini but Kazakh captain Dios Doskarayev turned to Nedovyesov, the World No. 130 who stunned the World No. 22 in a five-set thriller, 7-6(5), 3-6, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5, for his first Davis Cup singles win.

 

In Asia/Oceania Zone Group I, Korea Republic beat Thailand 3-2 away, while New Zealand routed China 4-1 in Auckland, with China No. 2 winning the visitors’ solitary point with a 3-2 win over Jose Statham on the opening day.

 

In Group II, Chinese Taipei trounced Lebanon 5-0 in Taipei, Philippines routed Sri Lanka 5-0 in Pasig, Indonesia beat Iran 5-0 in Palembang and Pakistan edged Kuwait 3-2 in the neutral venue of Colombo.

 

Source: Davis Cup (www.daviscup.com); Editing by SportAsia

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