Updated: 02/02/2014 15:55 | By Agence France-Presse

Japan advance to Davis Cup quarter-finals

Japan advanced Sunday to the Davis Cup quarter-finals for the first time under the modern format, albeit in anti-climactic fashion after Canada's Frank Dancevic retired from his match with Kei Nishikori.

Japan advance to Davis Cup quarter-finals

Japan's Kei Nishikori pictuerd during his Davis Cup World Group match against Canada's Frank Dancevic in Tokyo on February 2, 2014 - by Toshifumi Kitamura

Canada's injury jinx continued when Dancevic, already given little hope of upsetting Nishikori on his home court, tore a stomach muscle after being blitzed 6-2 in the first set and surrendering his serve at the start of the second.

After a medical time-out, Dancevic trudged over to Nishikori's chair to shake hands.

The victor almost apologetically acknowledged Japan's historic world group first-round win by ruffling his hair in embarrassment and offering a half-hearted fist pump to the crowd of 8,000.

Go Soeda thrashed Peter Polansky 6-1, 6-4 in the dead final rubber to  complete a 4-1 rout over last year's semi-finalists.

Canada were missing world number 11 Milos Raonic and Vasek Pospisil through injury, dramatically altering the dynamic of the tie. 

Nishikori exudes an air of invincibility on the Tokyo hard court where he captured the 2012 Japan Open title and clinically won all three of his matches.

"It's a bit hard being overjoyed to win like that but to make history is  unbelievable," Nishikori, the world number 18, told reporters.

"I always feel a little pressure to win both of my singles but to also help win the doubles makes it extra-special."

Nishikori stormed through the first set in 29 minutes, ripping carbon-copy backhand passes to break Dancevic in the third and fifth games before emphatically closing out the opening frame with an ace. 

Minutes later it was all over.

"I pulled a stomach muscle on a serve," said a deflated Dancevic. "I had to be at 110 percent to have a chance against Kei. There was no way I could risk my career or take months off tour so I had to stop.

"The doubles yesterday made my body a little fragile and if it hadn't been  the Davis Cup I wouldn't have stepped on court today, but we didn't have  any options," added the 119th-ranked Dancevic. "We were down to our last legs."

Japan will host either holders the Czech Republic or the Netherlands at  the same venue in April, when they will make their first Davis Cup quarter-final appearance since the 16-nation world group format was established in 1981.

Nishikori, who pushed Rafael Nadal hard in a fourth-round loss at the  Australian Open, beat Polansky 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 in Friday's opening singles  before partnering Yasutaka Uchiyama to a 6-3, 7-6, 4-6, 6-4 doubles win over Dancevic and Daniel Nestor to give Japan a 2-1 lead. 

Canada team captain Martin Laurendeau blamed defeat on bad luck, with talisman Raonic sidelined by an ankle injury and Pospisil's back trouble forcing him out also.

"You don't prepare for this kind of weekend," he said. "You know injuries will come but you can't control the timing."

"The players trained hard for a grand slam and the Davis Cup but some of their bodies fell apart during the same week (in Melbourne). You need depth and health, and a lot of elements have to come together." 

Japan now hold a 6-0 record against Canada in Davis Cup competition, their previous win coming way back in 1938.

Latest Photo Galleries on xinmsn



facebook recommendations


  • 938 Live

    938LIVE is Singapore's only English news and talk station which transmits round the clock with an engaging and enticing spread of programmes on current affairs, health, business and lifestyle as well as news every half hour until midnight.

  • Capital 958