Tennis: Nishikori keeps Japan hopes alive

VANCOUVER - Kei Nishikori kept Japan's hopes of reaching the Davis Cup quarter-finals alive on Sunday with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 win over Canadian Milos Raonic.

Nishikori, the 2014 US Open runner-up ranked fourth in the world, needed three hours and four minutes to stretch his career head-to-head record over the sixth-ranked Canadian to 5-2.

His win sent the tie to a decisive fifth rubber in which Japan opted to send in Go Soeda as a replacement for Tatsuma Ito against Vasek Pospisil.

It's the first meeting between the 62nd-ranked Pospisil and 86th-ranked Soeda at the highest level.

But Soeda beat Pospisil in a Challenger event in South Korea in 2011.

Japan have beaten Canada in all six prior Davis Cup encounters. Last year they triumphed over the Canadians 4-1 in Tokyo to reach the quarter-finals of the World Group for the first time.

With Nishikori injured and absent in the quarters, they were hammered 5-0 by then-defending champion Czech Republic.

The winner of the tie will face Belgium, who toppled holders Switzerland 3-2 in Liege.

The Swiss were without Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka, who helped led them to their first Davis Cup win last year.