Mon, Feb 13, 2012 - Page 20 News List

South Korea finish off Taiwan; Japan ousted by Croatia

AFP and AP, SEOUL, GEELONG, TAURANGA, NEW ZEALAND, AUSTRALIA, an

South Korea completed yesterday a 4-1 victory over Taiwan in the Davis Cup a day after securing an unbeatable 3-0 lead, advancing into the second round, where they will face tough opponents Australia.

In the Asia/Oceania Group I first round, South Korea’s Cho Min-hyeok easily defeated Yang Tsung-hua 6-2, 7-5 in a best-of-three sets match, after Huang Liang-chi of Taiwan managed to secure a win over Seol Jae-min, 7-6 (7/5), 6-3.

It came a day after South Korea took an irreversible 3-0 lead over Taiwan by winning a nail-biting five-set doubles match that lasted more than four hours.

“I’m so glad we’ve finally won the game. It was a difficult round and we thought we had a half chance of winning,” South Korea team coach Yoon Yong-il said.

Yoon was in a confident mood, saying the team may show “surprise results” in the second round of the Asia/Oceania qualifiers to be held in Australia in April, where South Korea will play the powerful home team.

Chris Guccione and Matthew Ebden enjoyed straight sets victories for Australia on Sunday as the team completed their 5-0 whitewash of China.

Guccione downed Wu Di 6-2, 6-4 in a best-of-three rubber and Davis Cup debutant Ebden beat Ma Yanan 6-4, 6-2 in his reverse singles match.

In the remaining Asia/Oceania Group I tie, Uzbekistan beat New Zealand 3-2 after losing the two inconsequential reverse singles.

Uzbekistan rested senior players Denis Istomin and Farrukh Dustov for the dead rubbers after they had secured an unbeatable 3-0 lead by taking out the opening singles and combining to win the doubles.

In the first of the reverse singles, New Zealand’s Artem Sitak beat Murad Inoyatov 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, then Dan King-Turner came from a set down to beat Sarvar Ikramov 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.

Meanwhile, Ivo Karlovic beat Go Soeda 7-6 (7/4), 6-1, 6-4, as Croatia defeated Japan 3-2 in their first-round World Group series to advance to the quarter-finals.

Kei Nishikori defeated Ivan Dodig 7-5, 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 in the first reverse singles to pull the host nation level, but Soeda was overpowered by the big-serving Karlovic, who had 17 aces.

Croatia advance to the quarter-finals in April, while Japan go to a promotion/relegation playoff in September.

Japan were playing in the World Group for the first time in 26 years.

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