Tennis: Ito the hero as Japan beat South Korea in Davis Cup

Tatsuma Ito was the hero on Sunday as he took the decisive final match to give Japan a slim 3-2 victory over South Korea in their Davis Cup Asia/Oceania zone Group I second-round tie.

The 24-year-old raced to a 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 win over Cho Min-Hyeok after rookie Lim Yong-Kyu had pulled off a surprising defeat of Go Soeda 5-7, 7-6 (7/5), 6-4, 6-3 to make it 2-2 in the best-of-five contest.

Ito's win means Japan qualify for a place in the play-off for the World Group in September.

"I tried to play 100 percent," Ito said. "I did my best from the beginning until the end."

Ito, ranked 101 in the world, added that he hoped to move up the standings before September's play-off to "help the team again".

On Friday, Ito coasted to a straightforward 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 win over Jeong Suk-Young in the opening rubber, while Soeda had to come back from two sets down to beat Cho Min-Hyeok 5-7, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 for a 2-0 lead.

But Nam Ji-Sung and Lim Yong-Kyu pulled one back in the doubles to keep the South Korean hopes alive on Saturday.

Korean coach Yoon Yong-Il said: "It was a close tie in the end, but both Ito and Soeda are playing on the tour. We have a lot to learn from Japan. I was disappointed with the result, but I'm satisfied with our performance."