JOHANNESBURG – In-form Lloyd Harris will be looking to put South Africa on the front foot in the opening rubber in the team’s all-important Davis Cup Euro/ Africa Group 1 play-off tie against Portugal on Friday.
Harris, who is experiencing a meteoric rise in the world singles ranks, will go up against Portugal’s No 2 singles player Pedro Sousa in his seventh Davis Cup tie.
South Africa’s non-playing captain Marcos Ondruska said the draw played into their hands with the world 112th ranked Harris taking the lead.
“It doesn’t really make a difference who goes out first, but having Lloyd play the opening rubber is what I hoped for,” Ondruska said.
“Lloyd is playing some really good tennis, and if he can win his opener on Friday, it will put South Africa in a very good position.
“It will also allow for Lloyd to get some extra time for recovery before coming back to play the reverse singles on Saturday.”
Harris is fresh off winning his second ATP Challenger tournament in Stockton, the United States two weeks ago. The 21-year-old won his first Challenger title in Kentucky in August, while he qualified for his first Grand Slam at the US Open.
“I feel good going into the tie, and really looking forward to getting out there first to get the team started,” Harris said.
“Obviously, the ideal would be getting the team to a winning start, but I am not going to pressurise myself. I am playing good tennis, and look forward to playing for my country.”
South African Davis Cup stalwart Nik Scholtz will play the second singles rubber against the hosts’ No 1 Joao Sousa.
South Africa will have an uphill battle against the Portuguese, who have the home-tie advantage on their preferred red-clay surface.
Friday’s Order of Play for the @DavisCup - Euro / Africa Group 1 Relegation Play Off #RSAvPOR at Club Internacional Foot-Ball in Lisbon.
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