Pretoria – Lithuania's Ricardas Berankis won the opening singles match in the Davis Cup Euro-Africa Group Two, second-round tie against South Africa at the Irene Country Club in Pretoria on Friday.
Berankis beat South Africa's Jean Andersen in straight sets 6-3, 7-6 (7-2), 6-3 to lead the tie 1-0.
Berankis easily won the first set, outclassing Andersen, who had a shaky start to the match, making a number of unforced errors that ultimately cost him the set.
Andersen, who has been out of action for over six months due to a foot injury, steadily found his straps in the second set, breaking Berankis twice to take a 5-3 lead against the number one.
A lapse of concentration later in the set cost Andersen the next three games, forcing the set to a tie-break.
Berankis won the tie-break 7-6 (7-2), handing him a two-set lead against the South African, with the Lithuanian also claiming the third set.
Later on Friday, South Africa's Rik de Voest will go up against Lithuania's number two, Laurynas Grigelis, in the second singles rubber.
Australian Open runner-up, Raven Klaasen, will partner Andersen in Saturday's doubles match where they will face Berankis and Grigelis.
In the reverse singles on Sunday, De Voest will be up against Berankis, while Andersen takes on Grigelis in the last match of the tie. – Sapa