Tennis: No Nishikori, No Problem As Japan Seize Control

Tennis: No Nishikori, no problem as Japan seize control

TOKYO, (Pakistan Point News - APP -16th Sept,2016) - Japan grabbed the initiative in their Davis Cup World Group playoff against Ukraine on Friday as Taro Daniel and Yoshihito Nishioka put the home side on the brink of victory. With world number five Kei Nishikori rested for the opening day's singles following his exertions over the summer, Daniel set the tone by beating an ailing Sergiy Stakhovsky 7-6, 7-6, 6-1 in sweltering conditions in Osaka.

Nishioka then upset Illya Marchenko 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 7-5 to leave Japan needing to win Saturday's doubles to retain their World Group status next year. "It's normal he would be a bit deflated after losing two tiebreaks," said world number 88 Daniel after seeing off Stakhovsky, a late replacement for Artem Smirnov. "I was able to kill him off in the third." Nishioka was the underdog against Marchenko, who came into the rubber ranked a career-high 50th in the world.

But as the floodlights came on, the power seemed to drain from the Ukrainian, who paid tribute to his conqueror. "I can't say I did anything stupid," shrugged Marchenko. "He was fighting for every point. I lost my focus in one or two points and he outplayed me on the baseline." Nishikori, who won bronze at the Rio Olympics before reaching the semi-finals of the US Open last week, is scheduled to play in Saturday's doubles in partnership with Yuichi Sugita.