Mon, Mar 07, 2005 - Page 20 News List

Taiwan overcomes Japan in Davis Cup Group I competition

AP , TAIPEI AND LONDON

Wang Yeu-tzuoo narrowly beat Gouichi Motomura yesterday to give Taiwan a victory over Japan in the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group I playoff.

Wang cruised past Motomura 7-6, 7-5, 4-6, 6-5, 7-6 in a close match that lasted four hours and 15 minutes.

It was Wang's first victory in the event.

In reverse singles, Lu Yen-hsun of Taiwan defeated Takao Suzuki of Japan 5-7, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6. It was Lu's second victory since he defeated Gouichi Motomura in the opening singles match.

Spain was ousted from the Davis Cup on Saturday, just two days into its title defense.

The defending champions were playing without three of their top players, and even the appearance of teenage star Rafael Nadal wasn't enough as Slovakia won the doubles match to take an insurmountable 3-0 lead.

Australia and Argentina also advanced to the quarterfinals Saturday.

Karol Beck and Michal Mertinak, playing doubles together in the Davis Cup for the first time, beat Albert Costa and Nadal 7-6 (3), 6-4, 7-6 (8) at the National Tennis Center in Bratislava to give Slovakia the unlikely win.

"We are all heroes," said Beck, who also won the opening singles match on Friday.

The last time Slovakia made it this far was in 2000, when it lost to Brazil 3-2.

"The Spaniards fought hard, which is not seen often," Slovakia captain Milos Mecir said. "I have said that Rafael Nadal is a great personality who does not give up, which makes our victory even more precious."

Spain, which beat the US to win its second Davis Cup just three months ago, was playing without Carlos Moya, Tommy Robredo and Juan Carlos Ferrero.

Moya said he was skipping the event to concentrate on Grand Slam events, while Robredo and Ferrero are injured.

Nadal, the youngest player to have won the Davis Cup, was dropped from Friday's singles by captain Jordi Arrese, partially because he had little time to practice on the fast indoor court.

"They played better in the key points," Arrese said. "We tried to do our best, we're proud of what we did, but they were better."

Slovakia will meet the winner of the Switzerland-Netherlands first round match. The Dutch lead 2-1 despite losing Saturday's doubles. Yves Allegro and George Bastl beat Dutch duo Dennis van Scheppingen and Peter Wessels 5-7, 4-6, 7-6 (5), 7-5, 9-7.

Australia advanced with a 3-0 win over Austria. Veterans Wayne Arthurs and Todd Woodbridge beat Austria's Julian Knowle and Jurgen Melzer 4-6, 6-3, 2-6, 6-4, 7-5.

They'll meet Argentina in the next round, who beat Czech Republic 3-0 in Buenos Aires.

David Nalbandian and Guillermo Canas edged Tomas Zib and Jan Hernych of the Czech Republic 6-3, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2.

"I felt we were better than them all the way through and managed their service games well," Nalbandian said.

In Moscow, Marat Safin and Mikhail Youzhny beat Fernando Gonzalez and Adrian Garcia 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 for a 2-1 lead over Chile.

"We have just played today as we should have played. We did not want to struggle on the court for a long time and tried to gain the advantage quickly. And we succeeded," Safin said.

Arnaud Clement and Michael Llodra beat Simon Aspelin and Jonas Bjorkman 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-4 to put France ahead of Sweden 2-1 in Strasbourg, France.

Belarus took a 2-1 lead over Romania when Max Mirnyi and Vladimir Voltchkov beat Andrei Pavel and Gabriel Trifu 7-6 (3), 6-3, 6-4.

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