HYOGO, Japan — Kei Nishikori will be aiming to build on his success at the Australian Open when Japan takes on Croatia in this weekend’s Davis Cup World Group tie.
Nishikori, who became the first Japanese man to reach the quarterfinals of the Australian Open since the Open Era began in 1968, will face Croatia’s Ivo Karlovic on Friday. Japan’s Go Soeda takes on Croatia No. 1 Ivan Dodig in Friday’s other singles match.
Saturday’s doubles will feature Karlovic and Lovro Zovko against Tatsuma Ito and Yuichi Sugita, while Sunday’s reverse singles will see Nishikori face Dodig and Soeda against Karlovic. “There is always a lot of pressure in the Davis Cup, it’s a different feeling than other tournaments,” Nishikori said. “The team needs two wins from me.”
Japan is returning to the World Group for the first time in 26 years after beating India 4-1 in a regional playoff in September.
After his strong showing in Melbourne, the 22-year-old Nishikori moved up to 20th in the world rankings, the highest ever for a Japanese male. Japan is 10 places below seventh-ranked Croatia in the Davis Cup rankings. It will be the first time the two countries have met in the tournament.