A classy performance by Raven Klaasen and Ruan Roelofse in the doubles on Saturday kept South Africa’s chances alive in their second round Euro/Africa Group II Davis Cup tie against Lithuania in Kaunas.
The South African due beat Lukas Mugevicius and Laurynas Grigelis of Lithuania 6-1 6-1 6-3 in a quick 96 minutes which South African Captain, Marcos Ondruska described as a “clinical clay court doubles performance.”
On Saturday South Africa woke up to the reality that they were 2-0 down after Tucker Vorster and Lloyd Harris both lost their opening singles rubbers on Friday.
Vorster went down 7-6 (1) 3-6 3-6 2-6 to Lithuanian number one Laurynas Grigelis whilst Harris despite winning the opening set and having a double break advantage in the second set crashed out to Lukas Mugevicius (LTU) 6-3 6-7 (5) 0-6 4-6.
Rain delayed the start of play on Friday by over four hours and Ondruska admitted the conditions were tough for his charges. “It was an incredibly difficult day for the South Africans on Friday with the rain delays and heavy balls and a lot of wind which didn’t make it easy at all.” Ondruska added that Vorster and Harris both had spoilt opportunities but gave credit to their Lithuanian opponents who he said played “smart and well” to beat the South Africans.
Ondruska said he was extremely proud of Klaasen and Roelofse to keep the tie alive. “Raven and Ruan played an exceptional doubles rubber under a lot of pressure to keep us in the tie.”
Ondruska said that Sunday would not be easy being down 1-2 but added that he had a good idea of how the Lithuanian singles players were going to play Sunday and their capabilities and that he and his players would come up with an effective game plan for the reverse singles. “I am confident in my team and believe they have what it takes to come back and win the tie on Sunday.”
Day 2 results of the 2016 Round 2 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Europe/Africa Zone Group II tie between South Africa vs Lithuania being played in Kaunas, Lithuania
SOUTH AFRICA VS LITHUANIA 1-2
Day 1 (Friday 15 July) 10h00 SA time
Tucker Vorster (RSA) lost to Laurynas Grigelis (LTU) 7-6 (1) 3-6 3-6 2-6
Lloyd Harris (RSA) lost to Lukas Mugevicius (LTU) 6-3 6-7 (5) 0-6 4-6
Day 2 (Saturday 16 July) 12 noon SA time
Raven Klaasen/Ruan Roelofse (RSA) bt Lukas Mugevicius/Laurynas Grigelis (LTU) 6-1 6-1 6-3
Day 3 (Sunday 17 July) 10h00 SA time
Lloyd Harris (RSA) vs. Laurynas Grigelis (LTU)
Tucker Vorster (RSA) vs. Lukas Mugevicius (LTU)