Australia, Japan storm through in Davis Cup

Australia and Japan celebrated perfect 5-0 Davis Cup victories on Sunday but India paid the price for fielding a second-string team following a dispute involving their top players.

Japan's Yuichi Sugita returns a shot against Indonesia's Christopher Rungkat during their men's singles match at the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Zone Group I first-round tie tennis tournement in Tokyo on February 3, 2013. Japan's Sugita and Yasutaka Uchiyama romped to a convincing 5-0 win over Indonesia in the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Zone Group I first-round tie.

Former world number one Lleyton Hewitt led Australia's charge into the second round of Asia/Oceania Group I with a singles and doubles win, with Matthew Ebden and Marinko Matosevic also winning their singles matches against Taiwan.

Japan had newly promoted Indonesia eyeing a quick return to Group II when Go Soeda and Tatsuma Ito spearheaded a straightforward win in Tokyo.

Wu Di, who became the first Chinese man to play a Grand Slam main draw at last month's Australian Open, recovered some pride for his country in Sunday's singles but it wasn't enough to stop a comprehensive 4-1 defeat by Uzbekistan.

And India, without Somdev Devvarman, Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna after a row over pay and conditions, slumped to a 4-1 loss against South Korea to end their hopes for another year.

In the second round in April, Australia will play Uzbekistan and Japan take on arch-rivals South Korea for a place in September's World Group play-offs.

China face Taiwan and India will play Indonesia in the first round play-offs, with the losers going into a relegation tie to decide which team drops down to Group II next season.

Australia are likely to face a debate over the inclusion of wayward star Bernard Tomic, who was kept out of the first round team over problems with his behaviour.

Japan may also hope to welcome back their top player, Kei Nishikori, who has been troubled by injury in the early part of this season.

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Writer: AFP
Position: News agency