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Croatia, Japan tied in Davis Cup

HYOGO, Japan, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- Wins by Japan's Go Soeda and Croatia's Ivo Karlovic left the teams tied after Friday's play of the best-of-five, first-round Davis Cup series in Japan.

Soeda rallied for a 6-7 (3-7), 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-5 win over Ivan Dodig in a 4-hour battle before Karlovic topped Kei Nishikori 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 in less than 2 hours.

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Soeda had a pair of breaks in each of the last three sets in getting by Dodig. Dodig's big serve delivered 23 aces but even two aces couldn't keep Soeda from getting a break in the 10th game of the third set to keep the match going. A break in the 11th game of the final set put Soeda in position to serve out the match.

Karlovic lost just 12 points on serve and didn't face a break point in his win over Nishikori. Karlovic committed only 14 unforced errors against 40 winners.

The 1-1 series tie will be broken Saturday when Karlovic and Lovro Zovko team for a doubles match against Tatsuma Ito and Yuichi Sugita. The series will be decided in Sunday's singles when Dodig opens against Nishikori and Karlovic plays Soeda.

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The winning team heads to the Davis Cup quarterfinals April 6-8 against either Argentina or Germany.

Friday marked Japan's first World Group appearance since 1985.

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