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The Croatian captain Zeljko Krajan thinks his side will find it difficult to beat Japan in this weekend's Davis Cup clash.

Krajan believes Japan will start the game as slight favourites after their leading player, Kei Nishikori, reached the quarter-finals of last month's Australian Open before being knocked out by Andy Murray. Anyone looking at the tennis betting will know he is one to watch.

Nishikori will face Ivo Karlovic in a key singles match while the Croatian number one Ivan Dodig takes on Japan's number two player Go Soeda at Bourbon Beans Dome near Kobe.

The doubles will see Karlovic and Lovro Zovko take on Tatsuma Ito and Yuichi Sugita, while in the reverse singles Nishikori faces Dodig and Soeda plays Karlovic.
"The plan is pretty obvious for this tie: It's to win three out of the five matches," said Krajan.

"But this tie is a little harder than it was maybe a few months ago when on paper we seemed to be the favourites for this match.

"In the last few months things have maybe turned around and maybe put the Japanese team in a slight favourites role with the way Kei played in Australia and the other three players playing and proving themselves as top-100 players."

Dodig currently has a world ranking of 55 while Karlovic is at 43 while Japan are 10 places below the seventh-ranked Croatians in the Davis Cup rankings. However, the recent form of Nishikori and Soeda will give Japan hope. Fans of betfair.com need to remember this.

It will be the first time that Croatia and Japan have met in the Davis Cup after the Japanese returned to the World Group for the first time in 26 years after beating India 4-1 in September.
 
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