• Kyodo


World No. 6 Kei Nishikori defeated Alejandro Falla in three sets to pull Japan level at 1-1 after the opening-day singles matches in its Davis Cup World Group playoff against Colombia on Friday.

After Taro Daniel succumbed to Santiago Giraldo in the first match, Nishikori prevailed 7-6(7-3), 6-7 (1-7), 7-5 to make it all square.

“It was a tough three-setter,” said Nishikori, who is coming off a surprise first-round exit at the U.S. Open.

“I wanted to be aggressive on (Falla’s) second serve but I wasn’t always able to return (the) way I wanted to. I am glad I was able to win in three sets.”

In Friday’s first match, Daniel battled back from two sets down, but Giraldo broke him at 3-3 in the fifth set and went on to win 6-4, 6-3, 3-6, 1-6, 6-4.

“It was fairly humid despite the high altitude but I enjoyed playing, even in this away atmosphere,” Daniel said. “In the fifth set, I was a bit rushed with my service game and made mistakes.”

Yasutaka Uchiyama and Davis Cup newcomer Yoshihito Nishioka take on Juan-Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah in the doubles, with the reverse singles to take place on Sunday.

Japan was forced into the playoff after losing in the World Group first round to Canada in March.

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