All Square After Day One Between South Africa And Israel

Lloyd Harris (photo: Israel Tennis Association)

ASHDOD, March 4, 2022 (Tennis SA Press Release)

South Africa will go into Saturday’s remaining contests with some work to do, but their promotion hopes are still very much alive in their Davis Cup by Rakuten World Group I playoff against Israel in Ashdod.

Lloyd Harris got the tie off to a great start for the South African team in the hardcourt indoor clash, with the South African No. 1 beating Israel’s Daniel Cukierman 6-4, 6-4 in Friday’s opening singles match.

Cukierman had replaced Edan Leshem as the home team’s No. 2 player shortly before the start of the tie due to medical reasons.

With the visitors going 1-0 up, however, Israel put a stop to a potential runaway defeat against the fancied South African squad.

In the second singles match, Israel’s No. 1 player Yshai Oliel secured a 6-2 6-3 victory over South Africa’s No. 2 Ruan Roelofse to level the score at 1-1 after the first day’s action.

“We had a game plan for Ruan, and it actually paid off really well at first, and he was up a break, but there was a middle part that just got away from us, and when we changed the strategy in the second set things started evening out and we just couldn’t break the guy a second time,” said South Africa’s captain Christo van Rensburg.

“So, I don’t think it puts any more pressure on the doubles match this weekend because I think this was always the way it was going to play out unless there was an upset today.”

Looking to hit back on Saturday, South Africa will be represented by Harris and Raven Klaasen, who will face Cukierman and Jonathan Erlich in the doubles fixture.

The result of the tie will then be decided in the reverse singles matches.

“The doubles is going to be a very important match because any time a team wins the doubles in a situation like this, with good doubles players on both sides, it’s going to be an entertaining match,” Van Rensburg said.

“So, we are still confident we can win this tie and gain promotion.”