Osaka - Yuichi Sugita thrashed Thiago Monteiro on Monday as
Japan preserved their Davis Cup world group status by wrapping up a comfortable
playoff victory over Brazil in Osaka.
Celebrating his 29th birthday, world number 42 Sugita
thrashed Monteiro 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 to give the home side an unassailable 3-1 lead
in the best-of-five tie after Brazil had given themselves a lifeline by winning
Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares overpowered Yasutaka Uchiyama
and Kiwi-born Ben McLachlan 7-6 6-4 6-2 in a rubber delayed by 48 hours because
of heavy rain at the weekend with Japan on the brink of victory.
But Sugita, who became only the third Japanese man after
Shuzo Matsuoka and Kei Nishikori to capture an ATP tour title in Turkey two
months ago, produced a clinical display to dash Brazilian hopes of a comeback
in the reverse singles.
Japan took a 2-0 lead after Friday's opening singles when
Sugita beat Guilherme Clezar 6-2, 7-5, 7-6 and Go Soeda squeezed past Thiago
Monteiro in five sets.
The teams agreed to scratch Soeda's dead rubber against