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Sports

France defeat Japan in Davis Cup opener

media Gilles Simon is congratulated by Yoshihito Nishioka after their Davis Cup first round second match. Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP

France defeated Japan 4-1 in their Davis Cup World Group first-round tie.

France secured a spot in the quarter-finals against Canada or Great Britain  following singles victories for Richard Gasquet and Gilles Simon and doubles success for the strong pairing of Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut.

Gasquet won 6-3 6-3 6-2 against Taro Daniel and Simon overcame Yoshihito Nishioka 6-3 6-3 6-4. Herbert and Mahut won 6-3 6-3 6-4 against Yuichi Sugita and Yasutaka Uchiyama.

French captain Yannick Noah could afford to rest Gasquet and Simon on the final day inside Tokyo's Ariake Colosseum.

Mahut's opponent Yoshihito Nishioka retired hurt after losing the first set and Yasutaka Uchiyama saw off Herbert 6-4 6-4 in the final singles rubber to restore a little pride for the home team.

Noah praised France's team bond.

“What I like is the involvement of the whole team, which began a couple of weeks ago.

“Some of them stayed over in Australia to be ready for this tie, that was good, when nowadays we are often talking about people not wanting to show up to represent their country. So when I see that some of my players are willing to spend all this time — and remember, they have been away from home sinceChristmas — that was very positive in terms of spirit."

The Canadian or British test for the French side will be in April.

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