• Kyodo

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Shinobu Asagoe partnered Rika Fujiwara to a straight sets victory over Maria Geznenge and Svetlana Krivencheva as Japan defeated Bulgaria 3-2 in its Fed Cup World Group playoff on Sunday.

Asasgoe outlasted Desislava Topalova 6-1, 6-7 (3-7), 6-4 in the first reverse singles match at TC Locomotiv before Bulgaria squared the tie at 2-2 as Tsvetana Pironkova swept aside Yuka Yoshida 6-1, 6-3.

But Asagoe and Fujiwara prevailed 6-3, 6-2 in scorching conditions on the outdoor clay court to keep Japan in the World Group, which will be split into two divisions from next season.

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