Nishikori, Raonic lead Japan-Canada Davis Cup tie
Kei Nishikori, last year`s US Open runner-up, and Milos Raonic, a semi-finalist last year at Wimbledon, will provide star power to next week`s Japan-Canada first-round Davis Cup tie at Vancouver.
The team line-ups announced Tuesday for the March 6-8 matchup on an indoor hard court at Thunderbird Sports Centre find fifth-ranked Nishikori joined by Go Soeda, Tatsuma Ito and Yasutaka Uchiyama leading the visitors.
Sixth-ranked Raonic, on an eight-match home soil win streak in Davis Cup play, will spark a Canadian side that also includes Frank Dancevic, Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil.
"Our team members have been playing great tennis to open the season and we are looking forward to coming together for another Davis Cup tie and trying to make the quarter-finals once again," said canadian captain Martin Laurendeau.
Canada rolled to the Davis Cup semi-finals in 2013 before falling to Serbia at Belgrade but last year, without Raonic and veteran Pospisil, lost 4-1 to Japan at Tokyo.
"We definitely know from recent experience how dangerous an opponent Japan can be," Laurendeau said. "But unlike last year we are at home, with a healthy team and back in familiar confines where we have had a lot of recent success. So we feel confident and will be ready to go out there and fight for a win."
Beating Canada launched Japan into the second round of the World Group for the first time.
But without an injured Nishikori in the quarter-finals, they were hammered 5-0 by the then defending champions the Czech Republic.
This year`s Japan-Canada winner will face either defending champion Switzerland or Belgium in the second round in July.