First day setback affected team’s morale: Takeuchi


New Delhi : Japan’s non-playing captain Eiji Takeuchi said two losses on the opening day of the Davis Cup tie against India dented the morale of the team and it was tough for them to come back from there.

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Japan though salvaged some pride Sunday when Kei Nishikori and Satoshi Iwabuchi won the inconsequential reverse singles matches against Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes.

Nishikori defeated Bhupathi in straight sets, 7-5, 6-1 while Iwabuchi beat Paes 6-4 4-6, 6-4. India have already booked its berth in the World Group play-off taking a 3-0 lead Saturday.

“The first day was the most important. If we had won either of the first day matches anything could have happened. We will keep this in mind when we will come here next time,” said Takeuchi.

Nishikori and Go Soeda went down to Rohan Bopanna and Prakash Amritraj respectively on the opening day in marathon five-setters.

Takeuchi however took heart Sunday as he congratulated his players to take the score line to 3-2.

“Losing 5-0 would have been difficult. I had to break some good news or I could not have gone home,” he laughed.

“Satoshi has always played doubles but today he played the singles match. I had expected younger Indian players to play. Leander gave a tough fight but Satoshi managed to win. That is good news for me,” Takeuchi added.

Bopanna and Prakash Amritraj were initially slated to play the reverse singles but injury forced them to pull out.

Asked why Soeda who gave a fighting performance against Amritraj Friday did not play in the reverse singles, Takeuchi said: “Soeda was very disappointed after the first day’s loss. He needed time to recover. Satoshi was practicing really very hard and I wanted him to play.”

The 18-year-old Davis Cup debutant Nishikori who convincingly beat Bhupathi in the first match of the day said he enjoyed playing against the Indian veteran.

“I had no pressure. I played well. Bhupathi wasn’t getting tired. May be he was not serving as he usually does.”