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Japan down Canada to make maiden Davis Cup quarters

Japan's Kei Nishikori returns a shot against Canada's Frank Dancevic during their Davis Cup world group first round tennis match in Tokyo Fe
Japan's Kei Nishikori returns a shot against Canada's Frank Dancevic during their Davis Cup world group first round tennis match in Tokyo Fe

(Reuters) - Hosts Japan sailed into the Davis Cup quarter-finals for the first time with a 4-1 victory against an injury-plagued Canada on Sunday.

Japanese number one Kei Nishikori was leading 6-2 1-0 on the indoor hard court at Tokyo's Ariake Coliseum when his opponent Frank Dancevic retired with injury, surrendering the tie in their first meeting since 1938.

They will host cup holders Czech Republic in the World Group quarter-finals in April, after they eased into the next round with a 3-2 win over The Netherlands.

World number seven Tomas Berdych secured the tie with a 6-1 6-4 6-3 win over Thiemo De Bakker, with Igor Sijsling beating Lukas Rosol in the dead rubber.

Japan's Nishikori pocketed the first set in 29 minutes and broke Dancevic in the first game of the second when the world number 119 took an injury timeout but could not continue because of a stomach muscle injury.

"The pressure is always on me to win both singles matches," said Nishikori, who won his opening singles against Peter Polansky on Friday before teaming up with Yasutaka Uchiyama to claim Saturday's doubles.

"This time I was able to help win three matches.

"The quarter-finals was our goal after getting back in the World Group. To do it in the first year is very rewarding."

Back in World Group after a one-year absence, Japan now have a perfect 6-0 Davis Cup record against last year's semi-finalists, who were laid low by a spate of injuries.

Canada's top-ranked player Milos Raonic withdrew on Thursday with a foot injury he sustained at last month's Australian Open, while world number 25 Vasek Pospisil also missed Saturday's doubles with an injury he picked up at Melbourne Park.

Kazakhstan secured a tie with Switzerland in the next round with a 3-2 victory over Belgium in Astana.

Belgium's David Goffin twice came back from a set down to level the tie at 2-2 with a five-set win over Mikhail Kukushkin, before Andrey Golubev claimed the decider 6-2 6-3 6-1 over Ruben Bemelmans.

The other confirmed quarter-final will see France meet Germany.

(Additional reporting by Josh Reich Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty; Editing by Patrick Johnston/Rex Gowar)

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