Taiwan took an irreversible 3-0 lead over Indonesia by winning yesterday’s doubles in the Davis Cup Asia/Oceania zone Group I relegation playoff in the southern city of Kaohsiung.
Lee Hsin-han and Peng Hsien-yin beat Elbert Sie and David Agung Susanto 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 to ensure Taiwan’s place in Group I, while Indonesia will be relegated to Group II.
On Friday, Huang Liang-chi claimed an easy victory over Wisnu Adi Nugroho 6-0, 6-1, 6-3, while Chen Ti picked up his team’s second point of the day with a 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 win over Christopher Rungkat.
In Japan, Colombia’s Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah took ruthless advantage of Japan’s decision to rest Kei Nishikori and Go Soeda by overpowering replacements Tatsuma Ito and Yuichi Sugita 6-1, 6-2, 6-1 to take a 2-1 lead in their Davis Cup World Group playoff yesterday.
Japan, pushing for a quick return to the top tier after being eliminated by Israel in September, made the switch a little over an hour before the start of the pivotal doubles, leaving the hosts needing to win both of today’s reverse singles in Tokyo.
“To be honest, we were surprised Japan rested Kei Nishikori,” Colombia captain Mauricio Hadad told reporters. “But we were prepared to play anyone. We knew if we were to have any chance of winning the tie, we had to win the doubles, and have been preparing for it for five or six weeks. The boys were fantastic and now we’re in a good position.”
Sugita’s double fault on match point summed up Japan’s day at the venue for the 2020 Olympic tennis competition as the host pair were outgunned by Cabal and Farah, quarter-finalists at this year’s Australian Open.
Japan captain Minoru Ueda predictably faced a post-match grilling after his switch put the pressure on Soeda and world No. 12 Nishikori.
“We decided last night to make the change,” Ueda said. “Nishikori and Soeda are singles players and there hasn’t been enough time to practice together, so we now just have to focus on the job of winning both matches tomorrow.”
Japan Open champion Nishikori had given his team the lead on Friday with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Alejandro Falla, in his first match since a shock first-round exit at the US Open before Santiago Giraldo leveled the tie by winning a five-setter against Soeda.
Nishikori plays Giraldo on today, before Soeda faces Falla in the final rubber.