Japan clinches their first win through Nishikori

April 13th, 2008 - 3:13 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 13 (IANS) Kei Nishikori thrashed a feeble challenge from Mahesh Bhupathi in the first reverse singles to help Japan open their account against India in the Asia-Oceania Group I Davis Cup tie here Sunday. Nishikori, 18, took just 59 minutes to dump Bhupathi 7-5, 6-1 in a lopsided affair. India have already clinched the tie and qualified for the World Group playoff Saturday after winning the first three matches.

Bhupathi last featured in a singles match in 2001 and that too in a Davis Cup encounter against Takao Suzuki of Japan.

The doubles pro clearly looked out of sorts against the Japanese teenager. Bhuapthi, who combined with Leander Paes to win the doubles match Saturday, had no answers to the 118th ranked Japanese’s superior ground strokes and baseline play.

Bhupathi’s serve and volley game did not work for him and his poor first serve added to his woes. His five double faults made matter worse.

Niskori, who is coming on the back of some good performance in international tennis, was quick to pounce on his opponents’ weakness.

The Japanese serve is one of his weak points but he fired nine aces compared to Bhuapthi’s two.

In the sixth game of the first set, Nishikori broke Bhupathi’s serve with a backhand return. Bhuapthi broke back in the tenth game. Nishikori committed his second double fault to level the score 5-5.

The Japanese stepped on the accelerator in the next game. Bhupathi again fumbled on his serve and committed a double fault to hand over the break. Nishikori then closed in the set with a clean service game.

From then onwards, it was a cakewalk for Nishikori as he ran through the second set breaking Bhupathi’s serve thrice - third, fourth and sixth game - and wrapped up the affair in no time.

India had taken an unassailable 3-0 lead Saturday after Leander and Bhupathi won the doubles match following Rohan Bopanna’s and Prakash Amritraj’s wins in the singles Friday.

With the tie in their favour, the hosts Sunday decided to give rest to Amritraj and Bopanna and fielded Bhupathi and Paes for the reverse singles.

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