South Africa's Davis Cup campaign on track after suffering mixed fortunes on Day 1
CAPE TOWN – Lloyd Harris steered South Africa's Davis Cup campaign back on track with a 7-5 6-2 win over Bosnia's Mirza Bašic in their World Group 1 first-round tie at the Arena Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, on Friday afternoon.
Earlier on, South Africa's No 2 Ruan Roelofse was defeated by the Bosnian No 1 Damir Džumhur in the opening rubber. Džumhur won 7-6 (3) 7-5.
The day ended with an overall 1-all score and play resumes on Saturday afternoon (2pm SA time) with the doubles contest. The two reverse singles rubbers will follow.
Harris served notice of his intentions with a 7-5 first set win after Bašic dropped serve in the 11th game.
During the 51-minute first set, Harris sent down six aces and boasted an impressive 90% first-serve points won.
It was a breeze for Harris in the second set which he wrapped up in 28 minutes after running up an early 5-0 lead.
Bašic surprised Harris with a service break in the 6th game and that was the only time the South African No 1 dropped serve in the contest, which eventually ended after 79 minutes with a 7-5 6-2 scoreline.
Meanwhile, South Africa had high hopes of their No 2 singles player Roelofse causing an upset against Bosnia's Džumhur, but the upset did not materialise
Both Damir and Roelofse held serve at the start of the opening set with convincing 40-0 margins although Roelofse was battling with his first serve.
In the second game, both players battled to hold serve and second serves were the order of the day.
Roelofse dropped serve in the fifth game (2-3) and thereafter games went with serve. The set could have been decided in the 9th game but Roelofse survived two breakpoints and at 4-5 he had given himself a fair chance to rescue the set.
His first serve improved somewhat, and he managed two aces as he overturned a 4-5 deficit to a 6-5 lead after he swallowed up Džumhur’s serve in the 10th game.
After a 6-all stalemate, Džumhur raced to a 7-3 tiebreaker win to triumph in a first-set dogfight after 51 minutes.
Džumhur raced to a 3-0 second-set lead after Roelofse dropped serve in the second game.
Roelofse badly needed to break back to sustain his challenge in the contest but that did not happen.
Towards the end, there was quite a bit of fight left in Roelofse as he saw off two break points in the 8th game (5-3). The fight continued and, in the 9th, he broke serve and then held serve in the 10th for a 5-all scoreline.
This 3-0 advance (3-5 to 5-5) raised hopes in the SA camp but it turned out to be a false alarm. Dzumhur won the next two games on the trot to wrap up the second set 7-5 and the match after 97 minutes.
Roelofse will partner the world-class Raven Klaasen in Saturday's doubles rubber against Bosnia's Džumhur and Bašic. Whichever country wins this double contest will take an overall 2-1 lead.
African News Agency (ANA)