ISLAMABAD: Japan were too strong for hosts Pakistan on the first day of the Davis Cup World Group I first-round clash.
Yosuke Watanuki beat Aqeel Khan 6-3, 6-2 without sweating much in the opening singles while Kaichi Uchida was a 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) winner against Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi in one hour and 33 minutes.
Shintaro Mochizuki and Yosuke will feature in Saturday’s doubles against Qureshi and Khan before the reverse singles on Sunday.
Of the 24 ties across World Group I and World Group II, four are taking place this weekend, with the remaining 20 ties scheduled for September.
Japan, whose best Davis Cup finish was a runner-up spot in 1921, had lost to Ecuador in March last year while Pakistan were outplayed by arch-rivals India last year.
The tie is played without spectators due to Covid-19 restrictions.
The eight highest-ranked winning nations of the World Group I ties in March-September 2021 will automatically progress to the 2022 Davis Cup.
The four lowest-ranked winners will take part in an additional knock-out tie in November, with the two winners progressing to the 2022 Qualifiers and two losers contesting the 2022 World Group I Play-offs.
The losing nations from the World Group I ties will compete in the World Group I Play-Offs in 2022.
Davis Cup Group I first round: Japan 2, Pakistan 0
Yosuke Watanuki (Japan) beat Aqeel Khan (Pakistan) 6-3, 6-2
Kaichi Uchida (Japan) beat Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi (Pakistan) 6-4, 7-6 (7-4)