Lloyd Harris © Gallo Images
The KIA South African Davis Cup team had a bittersweet end to their Davis Cup tie against Estonia at the Irene Country Club in Pretoria on Sunday.
In a dead rubber final day's play, South Africa won and lost a reverse singles giving them an overall 4-1 victory over Estonia in their Euro/Africa Group 2 first round tie.
Raven Klaasen and Ruan Roelofse won the tie for the hosts on Saturday by clinching the doubles rubber in four sets. On Friday both South African singles players Lloyd Harris and Nik Scholtz won their respective rubbers.
In the opening reverse singles on Sunday, Harris beat Estonian junior Mattias Siimar 7-5 6-3 in one hour 27 minutes to give his country a 4-0 lead. Siimar replaced injured Estonian No 1 Jurgen Zopp who on Friday collapsed on court in his rubber against Scholtz with a lower abdominal injury.
Estonia then salvaged some pride by winning the final rubber. Their No 2, Vladimir Ivanov. beat birthday boy Nik Scholtz 7-6 (3) 6-3 to give the visitors their only point of the weekend.
Former First Lady, Zanele Mbeki, who was guest of Tennis South Africa on Sunday, congratulated the South African team on court following play.
“It was an unbelievable weekend for tennis in South Africa. We had world class tennis on display and Estonia gave their all and were very competitive. My team played well and I am proud of them. The crowds were fantastic throughout and I am thankful for the tie sponsors Axnosis, KIA Motors and Vodacom for helping us put a great tie together.” said SA Davis Cup captain Marcos Ondruska.
South Africa, seeded 8 will play the winner of second seeds Slovenia versus Monaco being played in Maribor, Slovenia.
Slovenia were leading Monaco 2-1 going into Sunday. Should Slovenia beat Monaco, they will travel to South Africa to play South Africa in April. The last time South Africa played Slovenia was in 2013 away and lost that tie 1-4. However, a year earlier South Africa beat Slovenia 4-1 at the Arthur Ashe Tennis Centre in Soweto.
If Monaco however upset Slovenia, South Africa will travel to Monte Carlo to play Monaco in the second round. South Africa have beaten Monaco in all three previous ties played.