Tokyo – Title-holders the Czech Republic reached the semi-finals of the Davis Cup after clinically dispatching Japan in Saturday's doubles to take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the tie.
Radek Stepanek and Lukas Rosol beat Tatsuma Ito and Yasutaka Uchiyama 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 in front of the Japanese emperor and empress to set up a clash with either France or Germany from September 12-14.
The Czech pair, who both won their singles matches on Friday, bowed politely from the baseline after Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko took their seats behind them as they led by a set and 5-4.
They showed no mercy, however, Stepanek ripping a forehand which Uchiyama could only dump into the net to leave Japan two sets down and with a mountain to climb.
The Czechs, who have taken the trophy in the past two years, secured victory when a Rosol bullet fizzed past Ito's racquet and landed flush on the baseline, rendering Sunday's reverse singles as dead rubbers.
Japan's hopes of toppling the two-time defending champions had been severely jolted by Kei Nishikori's withdrawal through injury, although the visitors were also missing world number five Tomas Berdych, who opted not to play. – Sapa-AFP