NEW DELHI – Rising tennis star Kei Nishikori became the youngest Japanese player to win a Davis Cup match when he defeated Mahesh Bhupathi of India on Sunday in the second round of Asia/Oceania Zone Group 1.
Davis Cup debutant Nishikori achieved the feat at 18 years, 3 months, 15 days with a 7-5, 6-1 win in a match reduced to the best of three sets a day after India clinched a series victory and a spot in a World Group promotion/relegation playoff.
Nishikori broke the previous record of 18 years, 4 months, 21 days set by Yuichi Sugita in February 2007.
In February, Nishikori moved into the limelight with his victory at the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships, where he beat top-seeded James Blake of the United States in the final to become the first Japanese winner on the ATP Tour in 16 years.
Nishikori later earned a call-up for the zonal meeting with India and set the record for being the youngest Japanese to play in tennis’s premier team competition at 18 years, 3 months, 13 days.
However, his Davis Cup debut was spoiled by Rohan Bopanna, who won the singles opener in five sets on Friday.
In Sunday’s other singles match, Satoshi Iwabuchi also gave Japan some consolation with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 win over Leander Paes.
The results mean Japan will remain in Group 1 of its regional zone next year.