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Ramkumar Ramanathan enjoyed a memorable Davis Cup debut as he notched up a hard-fought victory over Seong Chan Hong of South Korea in the opening singles to hand India a 1-0 lead in the Asia/Oceania Group-I tie here on Friday.

Ramkumar will, however, thank the hot and humid conditions here for playimg a part in his win. The 21-year-old Indian was leading 6-3, 2-6, 6-3, 6-5 (15-15) when the Korean suffered a cramp in his right thigh and was unable to continue.

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India's hopes of returning to the World Group in the Davis Cup for the first time since 2011 could well rest on Sunday's reverse singles encounter between Somdev Devvarman and Czech no.2 Lukas Rosol, after the former produced an excellent performance to stun world no. 40 Jiri Vesely in straight sets in New Delhi on Friday.

The Czech Republic, top seeds in the Play-offs this year, won the first of their Singles matches on Friday with relative ease as Rosol crushed 23 year old Yuki Bhambri 6-2, 6-1, 7-5 in under 2 hours in reasonably pleasant weather conditions in the Indian capital.

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milos_raonic1.jpgThe Canadian Davis Cup team has advanced into the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group quarter-finals for the second time in its history after Vasek Pospisil (Vancouver) earned the clinching point in the fifth and deciding rubber with a 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 triumph over Go Soeda to give Canada a 3-2 win over Japan. A deciding match was required after world No. 4 Kei Nishikori defeated world No. 6 Milos Raonic (Thornhill, Ont.) 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 in the fourth rubber of the tie at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre on the campus of University of British Columbia in Vancouver on Sunday.

Pospisil and Soeda – with world rankings of No. 62 and No. 86 respectively – battled closely until the end of the first set, when the 24-year-old Canadian broke to take the lead. From that point on, Pospisil was the superior player. Competing in his third match of the weekend, he didn’t face a single break point, hitting 15 aces and winning 93 per cent of his first serve points. He secured Canada’s victory in just short of 90 minutes.

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The Canadian Davis Cup team is one win away from clinching its Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group first-round tie against Japan after Daniel Nestor (Toronto) and Vasek Pospisil (Vancouver) defeated Go Soeda and Yasutaka Uchiyama 7-5, 2-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 on Saturday at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre on the campus of University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

It was an up-and-down affair, with neither team able to hold onto their momentum from set to set. Canada jumped out to the one-set lead by breaking at 6-5 in the first set but Japan rapidly came back with an early break in the second set. The third and fourth sets followed in similar fashion, with neither pair able to overcome early service breaks by their opponents. The two teams ended up with similar serving statistics, with Nestor and Pospisil winning 75 per cent of their first serve points, 56 per cent on their second serve, and going four-for-11 on break chances compared to 72 per cent for Soeda and Yasutaka on their first serve, 47 per cent on their second, and four-for-12 on break point opportunities.

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In a huge blow to Indian tennis fans, world no.1 Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from the Davis Cup tie against the Indians to be played in Bangalore from 12th to 14th September.

Djokovic was always unlikely to travel to India given that his wife is expecting their first child around the same time and his run to the semi-finals of the US Open last week means that he is also pretty exhausted both physically and mentally after a hard summer of tennis.

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The Canadian Davis Cup team was defeated 4-1 by Japan in their Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group first round tie on Sunday at the Ariake Coliseum in Tokyo, Japan. Entering the day trailing 2-1 after a disappointing loss in doubles on Saturday, Canada needed to win both singles matches in order to advance to the quarter-finals. However, Frank Dancevic was forced to retire down 2-6, 0-1 to world No. 18 Kei Nishikori in the first rubber of the day which clinched the tie for Japan and forced Canada into a World Group play-off in September. Peter Polansky (Thornhill, Ontario) fell to Go Soeda in the dead fifth rubber 6-1, 6-4.

With both players having played singles on Friday and doubles on Saturday, energy was bound to be a factor in the match and it was Nishikori who came out looking like the fresher player. Dancevic held his serve the first game but Nishikori went on to break twice, win the next five games and eventually the set.

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The Canadian Davis Cup team trails Japan 2-1 after the second day of play in their Davis Cup World Group first round tie taking place on indoor hard court at the Ariake Coliseum in Tokyo, Japan. In what could be considered a fairly large upset, the Japanese team of Kei Nishikori and Yasutaka Uchiyama defeated Dancevic and world No. 16 in doubles Daniel Nestor 6-3, 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-4 to put Canada on the brink of elimination.

Both teams made player substitutions prior to the match as Dancevic went in for Vasek Pospisil who is still recovering from a back injury and Nishikori went in for Yuichi Sugita on the Japanese side.

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