Davis Cup: Japan make last eight after emphatic 4-1 win over depleted Canada
Last Updated: 03/02/14 12:03am
Japan celebrate after securing a 4-1 victory over Canada in Tokyo
Japan eased into the last eight of the Davis Cup with a 4-1 victory over Canada in Tokyo.
Kei Nishikori was leading 6-2 1-0 on the indoor hard court at the Ariake Coliseum when his opponent Frank Dancevic was forced to retire from the match due to a stomach muscle injury.
The hosts had already been 2-1 up in the tie after Nishikori - who won all three of his matches - had teamed up with Yasutaka Uchiyama to win the doubles rubber on Saturday.
"The quarter-finals was our goal after getting back in the World Group. To do it in the first year is very rewarding," Nishikori said.
Canada had reached the semi-finals in the World Group last year but were always up against it when their top-ranked player, Milos Raonic, withdrew on Thursday with a foot injury.
World number 25 Vasek Pospisil also missed the doubles match with an injury he picked up at the Australian Open.
Go Soeda thrashed Peter Polansky 6-1, 6-4 in the dead final rubber; Japan will now host the Czech Republic, who knocked out the Netherlands, in the quarter-finals in April.
The two-time defending champions booked their place in the next round when Tomas Berdych triumphed 6-1 6-4 6-3 over Thiemo de Bakker, giving the Czechs an unassailable 3-1 lead in their tie against the Dutch.
Berdych, who had also swept aside Igor Sijsling in the opening singles rubber on Friday, showed his intent by racing 5-0 ahead in the opening set. He never looked back after such a fast start, sealing victory at the first attempt.
"I may not have the best record against him," this year's Australian Open semi-finalist said afterwards. "Today I was ready."
Italy also advanced to the last eight thanks to Fabio Fognini's four-set victory over Argentina's Carlos Berlocq.
Fognini's 7-6 (7/5) 4-6 6-1 6-4 win handed the Italians an unassailable 3-1 lead, leaving Andreas Seppi to play out the tie against Juan Monaco.
Italy will now face Great Britain in the quarter-finals after they got the better of the United States.
Kazakhstan booked a quarter-final tie against Switzerland following 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.