Davis Cup : Japan take lead over India

Yuichi Sugita and Kei Nishikori helped Japan to a superior 2-0 lead against India in the Davis Cup World Group Play-Off tie in Tokyo on Friday. Sugita upset the Indian No.1, Somdev Devvarman 6-3, 6-4, 7-5 in the opening singles before Nishikori, Japan's top singles player, expectedly got the better of Rohan Bopanna 6-3, 6-2, 6-2

Sugita, the Japanese No.2, thrashed Somdev to draw first blood for Japan. Somdev, India's top singles player at No. 64, was probable to steamroll over the 174th-ranked Japanese. However, the opposite happened with Somdev, who won back-to-back gold medals at the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games last year, unsuccessful to get into any rhythm against the unheralded Sugita. While Somdev's tame surrender came in as a surprise for the visitors, Bopanna's loss was a predictable one.

The doubles expert seemed impractical against Nishikori and caved in just 98 minutes. Veteran Mahesh Bhupathi and his young partner Vishnu Vardhan will have to win their doubles clash against Nishikori and Go Soeda on Saturday to keep the Indian dare alive. With Leander Paes missing the tie with an injury, the untested pair has its task cut out.


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