25 Feb 2018

Japan, Korea, Republic win Asian Qualification

News Article

Photo: Sri Lanka Tennis AssociationThe victorious Japanese men's team

Japan’s men’s team has joined Korea, Republic’s women’s team in earning victory at the BNP Paribas World Team Cup Asian Qualification, meaning that both teams have now earned their places at the 2018 BNP Paribas World Team Cup finals in Apeldoorn, Netherlands on 28 May to 3 June.

With the Korean women's team having already secured a 2-0 win over Malaysia, Japan beat China, P.R., winner of the 2016 Asian Qualification, 2-1 in Sunday’s men’s final in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Sunday’s victory for top seed Japan came after a 3-0 loss to host nation Sri Lanka on Saturday’s last day of round-robin competition in Colombo. It was a tie that saw Japan’s world No. 8 Takashi Sanada sit out the singles rubbers as Suresh Dharmasena, currently at his career best world ranking of No. 67, got Sri Lanka underway with a 63 26 61 win over Yoshinobu Fujimoto.

Gamini Dissanayake also defeated much higher ranked opposition in his first career match against world No. 15 Kouhei Suzuki, winning the second singles rubber 64 75 to secure Sri Lanka a second tie victory in three days. And not even Paralympic medallist Satoshi Saida and Sanada could prevent Sri Lanka from earning an overall 3-0 win as Dharmasena and Dissanayake edged the doubles rubber 7-6(9), 7-6(6).

The Chinese men’s team ensured its passage to the final after a 2-1 victory over Malaysia on Saturday’s penultimate day of competition. Ariffahmi Zaquan Ariffin took Malaysia into the deciding doubles rubber after a last-gasp 76 (2) 46 76(4) win over Chao Du. However, after dropping just one game in the first singles rubber of the tie, Shunjiang Dong subsequently partnered Du to win the doubles 61 64.

The outcome of Saturday’s two ties meant that the round-robin phase of the qualification event ended with Japan, China, P.R. and Sri Lanka all on two wins. However, the Japanese and Chinese teams had a better percentage of sets won to Malaysia to advance to Sunday’s final.

Dong again gave China, P.R. the early lead in the final, beating Fujimoto 63 46 63 to level the career head-to-head between the two players at a win apiece after Fujimoto won their opening match at the Sydney International Open in January, also in three sets.

However, with Sanada restored to playing as No.1 for Japan, he eased past Du 61 60 and then partnered Fujimoto to win the crucial doubles rubber 64 63.

Japan will now contest the men’s event in the BNP Paribas World Team Cup finals for the 32nd time.