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2013 Davis Cup World Group Playoff Sept.13 -15

Soeda, Nishikori, Japan Back in Elite World Group After Clutch 3-2 Win vs Colombia

Go Soeda clinches 5th rubber over Colombia's Falla. Photo September 11, 2013 by Jack Gallagher: Victories by Kei Nishikori and Go Soeda in Sunday’s reverse singles rubbers ensured Japan rallied past Colombia 3-2 to triumph in their Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group play-off tie at the Ariake Colosseum. The win puts Japan back in the World Group for 2014 after it played this year in Asia/Oceania Zone Group I. Japan’s No. 1 Nishikori defeated Colombia’s No. 1 Santiago Giraldo in straight sets 61 62 64 in the opener before a partisan crowd, while Soeda downed Alejandro Falla 46 64 63 63 in the dramatic final rubber.


Nishikori, ranked No. 12, once again relied on his powerful forehand and deep returns as he notched up a comprehensive victory over Giraldo, No. 85 in the world, to keep the host nation in the tie. Japan’s No. 2 Soeda, ranked No. 131, then sprayed the court with winners from the baseline repeatedly against Colombian No. 2 Falla after dropping the opening set. Falla, who has been out of action for three weeks due to injury, appeared to tire as the match wore on. Japan captain Minoru Ueda was relieved after the hardfought battle. "Colombia was a very tough team," he said. "We really had to raise our level. We showed we could do it. It was a great victory for us."


Nishikori came out very aggressively, moving Giraldo around the court with huge forehands and forced him into 19 errors in an opening set that lasted just 21 minutes. Nishikori broke in the second game and led 3-0 before the Colombian held serve for 3-1. Giraldo, who suffered from peritonitis last year and a subsequent infection following surgery and has been slowly climbing back up the rankings, could not find the answer on this day. Nishikori continued the onslaught in the second set, breaking in the fifth and seventh games on the way to wrapping up the set in 33 minutes. The Colombian, who has been ranked as high as 39th, fought hard but could not turn the tide. Nishikori broke to move ahead 4-3 and brought matters to a conclusion in one hour, 43 minutes. Full article


R1: Kei Nishikori (JPN) v Alejandro Falla (COL) 6-3 6-4 6-4

R2: Go Soeda (JPN) v Santiago Giraldo (COL) 4-6 6-3 5-7 6-3 1-6

R3: Ito/Sugita (JPN) v Cabal/Farah (COL) 1-6 2-6 1-6

R4: Kei Nishikori (JPN) v Santiago Giraldo (COL) 6-1 6-2 6-4

R5: Go Soeda (JPN) v Alejandro Falla (COL) 4-6 6-4 6-3 6-3

Japan-Colombia Tied 1-1; Nishikori Cruises Past Falla, Giraldo Beats Soeda

Asia's No.1 Nishikori put Japan on the board first on Friday. Photo September 13, 2013 by Jack Gallagher: Tokyo, Japan - Japan and Colombia are deadlocked 1-1 after the first day of their Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group play-off at the Ariake Coliseum on Friday. Kei Nishikori defeated Alejandro Falla in straight sets 63 64 64 in the opening singles match, before Santiago Giraldo outlasted Go Soeda in five sets 64 36 75 36 61 in the second contest to level the tie.


Japan No. 1 Nishikori prevailed in a baseline battle and was especially proficient with his trademark forehand, which he used to rack up 16 winners to Falla's six. Nishikori needed just one hour 50 minutes to complete the triumph over Colombia No. 2 Falla. The 23-year-old Nishikori was encouraged by his performance. "I was happy with my play today," he said. "It was good for me and the team that I could wrap it up in three sets. I prepared well and I felt positive throughout the match." Nishikori provided his own analysis of the win. "My serve was on and I had good speed and direction," he noted. "The serve connects to the strokes, so it is important. I also returned well."


The Shimane native, ranked 12th in the world, took the first game of the match at love on serve and broke twice as he wrapped up the opening set in 30 minutes indoors on the hardcourt. Falla, ranked 93rd, broke Nishikori in the fifth game to go up 3-2, but Nishikori responded by breaking right back against the southpaw to level at 3-3, then held serve and broke again to move ahead 5-3.


The second set was on serve until the ninth game when Nishikori broke with a wicked crosscourt forehand to take a 5-4 advantage and then closed out the set on serve. The third set provided more of the same, as Nishikori held serve and broke in the ninth game to move in front 5-4 before completing the victory on serve. Full article

Japan Ready for the Playoff Challenge Against Colombia

Japan Davis Cup team (l-r) Go Soeda, Kei Nishikori, Captain Toshiro Sakai, Tatsuma Ito, Yuichi Sugita. Photo September 11, 2013: World No.12 Kei Nishikori of Japan has been drawn to play against Colombia’s Alejandro Falla, World ranked No.94, in the first rubber of the BNP Paribas Davis Cup World Group playoff on Friday September 13 at the Ariake Stadium in Tokyo. The second singles rubber will feature Japan’s No.2 Go Soeda against Colombia’s Santiago Giraldo. 


Nishikori, the highest-ranked player on show this weekend, will have a big burden on his shoulders but he should be as fresh as they come after making a first round exit to Britain's Dan Evans in the first round of the US Open last month. There are no surprises in the Colombian nominations and this tie has the makings of a classic. 

Colombia Davis Cup team. Photo Poindexther Poller

This year's World Group play-off will be the first time that Japan and Colombia have met in Davis Cup. Both teams will want to win the opening encounter and book a place in next year's World Group. Japan were pushed all the way by Korea, Rep. in their Asia/Oceania Zone Group I second round clash, but it was Japan who prevailed in the fifth rubber and earned a place in this year's play-off.


Colombia has never made it through to the World Group despite falling at the same stage against USA in 2010 in a tight encounter in Bogota. But this year's play-offs represent a real opportunity for the South American side if they can perform to their potential. More details

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