Australia to host Japan in Davis Cup playoffs

MELBOURNE: Australia will play Japan in the next round of the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania zonal playoffs after completing a 5-0 whitewash over Taiwan on Sunday.

Australia, 28-time winners of the Davis Cup, will host Japan May 7-9 with the winner securing a World Group playoff in September.

Bernard Tomic, at 17 Australia''s youngest Davis Cup player in 77 years, completed an unbeaten Cup debut by winning his second singles match of the weekend 6-7 (4/7), 6-0, 6-3 over Lee Hsin-han.

Peter Luczak beat Yang Tsung-hua 6-3, 6-3 in Sunday''s other dead singles rubber after the Australians had wrapped up the tie 3-0 when Carsten Ball and Paul Hanley won the doubles on Saturday.

"It was a good start to the Davis Cup," Tomic said. "This last week has been huge for me and something that I''ll always treasure.

"It''s amazing to have a start like this. When I ever get the chance to play for Australia and the guys call me up I''ll be ready more than ever."

Davis Cup captain John Fitzgerald said Australia had the potential to reclaim a spot in the elite group, with the nation''s top-ranked player Lleyton Hewitt likely to have recovered from hip surgery to play against Japan.

"I think this year we believe we can get back into the World Group if everything goes our way and if Lleyton''s fit and Bernard keeps improving," Fitzgerald said.

Luczak said Hewitt had told him he was confident he would be back to take on Japan.

"He''s planning on playing in Houston, which is only four or five weeks away, so we''ll probably get a pretty good idea then if he''ll be ready to play against Japan," Luczak said.