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Sunday, Dec 08th

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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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The Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group first round tie between Canada and Japan is tied 1-1 after the opening day of play. With world No. 11 Milos Raonic out of the tie due to an ankle injury and world No. 25 Vasek Pospisil not quite ready to play singles after a back injury, it was world No. 119 Frank Dancevic and world No. 135 Peter Polansky who answered the call for the Canadian Davis Cup team on Friday. Polansky started the day with a valiant effort against world No. 18 Kei Nishikori but fell 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 while Dancevic then evened the score with a strong win against world No. 140 Go Soeda 6-4, 7-6(2), 6-1. The tie is being played on an indoor hard court at the Ariake Coliseum in Tokyo, Japan.

The first set of the day was one of shifting momentum as Nishikori jumped out to a 2-0 lead but Polansky came back to win four straight games and go up a break. Nishikori then took the control back, claiming the next four games and the set. Nishikori increased his level even further in the second and third sets, running Polansky all over the court with his defensive play. While Polansky fought for every point, Nishikori got the extra break in both sets to seal the match.

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Brazil were really in amazing form as they easily defeated Japan 3-0 in the opening match of the Confederations Cup, a two week tournament featuring the leading sides of each of FIFA’s different continental federations. Brazil started of proceedings with an absolute belter from Neymar, the new Barcelona acquisition, inside the first 5 minutes. Japan hung on in the first half and were perhaps fortunate to go into the break just a goal down, but a goal early in the second half from Paulinho calmed nerves around Estadio Nacional de Brasilia before a late goal from Jo sealed the match for the Selecao.

Brazil was rock-solid at the back and just mouth watering in attack. They have shown to the whole world that they are going to serious contenders for the next year’s World Cup and for their third successive Confederations Cup.

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The Melbourne Rebels Super Rugby development team will become the latest Australian side to join a newly expanded IRB Pacific Rugby Cup this year. The 2013 tournament schedule, which was announced by the IRB earlier this week, will also see newcomers, Junior Japan thrown into the mix to play against Australian and New Zealand development sides.

The annual Pacific Rugby Cup sees four development teams from Tonga, Fiji, Samoa, and now Japan each play three matches in Australia before travelling to New Zealand to play a further three matches.

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delighted_vettelSebastian Vettel followed up a stunning pole with a dominant victory at the Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka.  The German now is the first back to back race winner this season turning the championship momentum firmly in his favour as the championship leader crashed out on the first lap for the second time in four races. Alonso’s championship lead has now been cut to just 4 points making the final 5 races of the year a straight shootout between the two rivals with Red Bull’s recent dominant pace giving Vettel the edge. It wasn’t all bad news for Ferrari as Felipe Massa finally made the podium for the first time this year with a strong second place having started in 11th. Kamui Kobayashi rounded off the podium taking a popular third place staving off the efforts of McLaren’s Button who finished strongly in fourth. The reception for the Japanese was deafening and the crowd chanting his name calling out their hero must rank among the very best feelings in Kobayashi’s career.

After the first lap mayhem that claimed multiple cars including Alonso and Rosberg, it was a relatively measured Japanese Grand Prix. Hamilton finished a relatively uninspired drive in 5th place ahead of Raikkonen who staved off the  charging Force India of Nico Hulkenberg. Maldonado finished just behind in 8th while Webber finished in 9th. Daniel Ricciardo had to absorb loads of pressure from Michael Schumacher but eventually kept him at bay to take the all important final championship point.

The win was Vettel’s 24th F1 win and third this season keeping Red Bull well ahead in the Constructors championship as well. Alonso put on a brave face saying, “It happened to me this time, it could happen to him next time. It becomes almost a mini championship now and we have to win one point more than the other guy”.Vettel concurred saying that things were quite unpredictable in F1 but was undoubtedly focussed on the final championship phase. Raikkonen and Hamilton are still in with a chance with 157 and 152 points respectively, but both will need a massive step up in pace and consistency to mount a serious title tilt in the remaining five races.

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