Yoshihito Nishioka and Go Soeda helped Team Japan to clinch its second tie victory in Group B at the inaugural ATP Cup on Monday afternoon.
Nishioka and Soeda both won their second singles matches of the tournament to take a unassailable 2-0 lead over Team Georgia at the RAC Arena in Perth.
Nishioka held his nerve to beat World No. 26 Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-2, 6-3 in 83 minutes, following on from Go Soeda’s battling 4-6, 6-3 6-2 win over Aleksandre Metreveli in two hours and 15 minutes.
“Yoshi has now beaten two good players with very good tennis, and he showed us his potential is so big,” said Team Japan captain Satoshi Iwabuchi. “Also Go, who did not have an easy match… We have won the two ties. In two days’ time we play Spain. So far, so good.”
Highlights: Nishioka Cruises Past Basilashvili
Toshihide Matsui and Ben McLachlan will look to complete a 3-0 clean sweep for Japan against Georgians Aleksandre Bakshi and Zura Tkemaladze in the doubles match.
Nishioka, who needed 54 minutes to beat Pablo Cuevas of Team Uruguay on Saturday, raced out to a 3-0 lead in his first meeting against Basilashvili, who successfully defended the Hamburg European Open crown last year. Basilashvili, broke serve in the third game of the second set, but 38 total unforced errors cost the 27-year-old in the long run, as Nishioka won five of the next six games for victory. Perhaps Basilashvili’s best chance to seize the momentum away from Nishioka came at 3-3 in the 44-minute second set, when he had three break point chances.
“I tried to do what he doesn't want to do,” said Nishioka. “I know he likes to hit the ball hard. For sure he can hit an ace many times, but he misses many times, as well. I tried to make a lot of balls using my tennis style – moving a lot, using the moon ball.”