Saturday, April 05, 2014
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Czechs Ease To Davis Cup Victory Over Japan

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[April 05, 2014]  (Reuters)  The Czech Republic wasted little time wrapping up their Davis Cup quarter-final tie against Japan after the defending champions eased to a straight sets victory in the doubles rubber on Saturday to take an unassailable 3-0 lead in Tokyo.

After battling to singles wins on Friday, Radek Stepanek and Lukas Rosol paired up for a 6-4 6-4 6-4 victory over Tatsuma Ito and Yasutaka Uchiyama at the Ariake Coliseum to set up a last four encounter against either Germany or France.

In a match that lasted two hours and 20 minutes, the Czech pairing won all three sets with a break of serve in the 10th game against the error-prone Japanese to remain on course for a third straight Davis Cup title and fourth overall.

Rosol was brought in as a substitute for Jiri Vesely by Czech captain Jaroslav Navratil on Saturday morning and the move proved inspired with the world number 40 exhibiting a strong serve and playing especially well from the baseline.


On Friday, former world number eight Stepanek, now 47th, came from a set down to beat Ito 6-7(5) 7-6(5) 6-1 7-5 before Rosol survived a mid-match meltdown to overcome 21-year-old Taro Daniel 6-4 6-4 3-6 4-6 6-2 in the second rubber.

Both sides came into the contest without their top players.

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World number five Tomas Berdych is out for the Czechs following two tough tournaments in the United States, while Kei Nishikori is sidelined with a groin problem suffered in a victory over Roger Federer at last week's Sony Open in Miami.

The Czechs are likely to face Germany in September's semi-final encounter after Carsten Arriens' unfancied side opened a 2-0 lead over the French on the opening day of their tie in Nancy.

(Writing by John O'Brien in Singapore, editing by Nick Mulvenney)

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