Tennis: Davis Cup champs Czech Republic take unassailable lead against Japan

TOKYO (AFP) - Title holders the Czech Republic reached the Davis Cup semi-finals after clinically dispatching Japan in Saturday's doubles to take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the quarter-final tie.

Radek Stepanek and Lukas Rosol beat Tatsuma Ito and Yasutaka Uchiyama 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, as the two-time defending champions set up a clash with either France or Germany from Sept 12-14.

"The Japanese guys fought their hearts out, but we had it pretty much under control," said Stepanek. "The Davis Cup has an incredible history. The emotions we experienced with our country and fans winning the competition were incredible. It's something you cannot buy."

Japan's hopes of toppling the experienced Czechs had been severely dented by Kei Nishikori's withdrawal through injury, although the visitors were also missing Tomas Berdych, who opted not to play.

World No. 5 Berdych recently called for the Davis Cup to be played "at least every two years" to preserve the competition's allure in an increasingly hectic tennis calendar.

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