PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA – JANUARY 31: Romain Arneodo of Monaco in action against Rik de Voest during the Opening singles of the Davis Cup tie between South Africa and Monaco at the Irene Country Club on January 31, 2014 in Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo by Reg Caldecott/Gallo Images)

Centurion – Davis Cup debutant Romain Arneodo gave Monaco a 1-0 lead over South Africa when he earned himself a hard-fought surprise win over stalwart Rik de Voest in the opening singles match of the Euro-Africa Group Two tie at the Irene Country Club in Centurion on Friday.

Arneodo beat De Voest, ranked 170th in the world, 7-5, 3-6, 7-5, 5-7, 6-4 to hand Monaco the first point.

The South African was troubled by Arneodo, who came out attacking from the first set. Arneodo piled on the pressure which proved to be too much for De Voest, who crumbled in the fifth set, in a match that lasted four and half hours on the hardcourt at the Country club.

Later on Friday, South Africa's Nik Scholtz will be up against Monaco's number one Benjamin Balleret in the second singles rubber.

Australian Open runner-up, Raven Klaasen will partner Roelofse in Saturday's doubles match where they will face Monaco's Thomas Oger and Guilluame Couillard.

In the reverse singles on Sunday De Voest will be up against Benjamin Balleret while Scholtz takes on Arneodo in the last match of the tie. – Sapa