South Africa Edged Out By Bulgaria In Rain-Interrupted Davis Cup Tie

Team South Africa (photo: Tennis South Africa)

SOFIA, September 18, 2022 (Tennis South Africa Press Release)

Despite putting up a brave fight in a disrupted doubles clash, South Africa were handed a 3-0 defeat by Bulgaria on Sunday in the Davis Cup by Rakuten World Group II tie at the National Tennis Centre in Sofia.

Entering the extended third day of the tie 2-0 down, after the second day’s play was suspended due to rain during the doubles match, Raven Klaasen and Lleyton Cronje gave it everything when they returned to the court on Sunday morning, but they were ultimately edged out in another straight-sets defeat.

Alexander Donski and Alexandar Lazarov remained composed, despite Klaasen and Cronje piling on the pressure in the second set, as the home team’s pairing secured a 6-3, 7-6 victory.

“This was one of the most unique doubles experiences I’ve had in the Davis Cup,” veteran doubles specialist Klaasen said after the match.

“Having to stop overnight at a critical juncture in the match was quite tricky, but we tried to stay calm and Lleyton played a good service game.

“We had a couple of chances but unfortunately things didn’t go our way – the Bulgarian team came up with some good shots when they needed it – but overall, we thought the performance was not bad from our side.”

Earlier, on Friday’s opening day, Davis Cup debutant Cronje had lost to Dimitar Kuzmanov (6-3, 6-1) and Philip Henning had fallen to Lazarov (6-0, 6-1) in their singles matches.

With the result being determined after the doubles rubber, it was decided that the reverse singles matches would not be played.

“We wish we could have pushed the doubles match into a third set and possibly gotten back into the reverse singles, but unfortunately that’s tennis,” Klaasen said.

“We gave it a good show and pushed as hard as we could, but things just didn’t go our way. Now we have to regroup and try get ready for our next Davis Cup tie.”