HYOGO, Japan – Big-serving Ivo Karlovic beat Go Soeda 7-6 (4), 6-1, 6-4 Sunday, sending Croatia past Japan 3-2 and into the quarterfinals of the Davis Cup.
Kei Nishikori defeated Ivan Dodig 7-5, 7-6 (4), 6-3 in the day's first reverse singles to pull the host nation even in the best-of-five. first-round series. But Soeda was overpowered by Karlovic, who had 17 aces.
Croatia advances to the quarterfinals in April while Japan goes to a promotion/relegation playoff in September. Japan was playing in the World Group for the first time in 26 years after beating India 4-1 in a regional playoff in September. Croatia is seventh in the Davis Cup rankings, 10 places ahead of Japan.