Tokyo - Japan have advanced on 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.
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
After a medical time-out, Dancevic trudged over to Nishikori's chair to shake hands.
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.
were missing world number 11 Milos Raonic and Vasek Pospisil through
injury, dramatically altering the dynamic of the tie.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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
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."
counterpart Minoru Ueda admitted: "With Canada's top two fit, it would
have been a very tough tie but the Davis Cup is a hard competition where
fitness and conditioning are crucial."
"We had to play Nishikori
in the doubles too and over the three days he proved how much tougher
he's become. He's able to compete against the likes of Nadal and (Czech)
Tomas Berdych. He's getting closer to that level all the time."
Japan now hold a 6-0 record against Canada in Davis Cup competition, their previous win coming way back in 1938.