Team captain Marcos Ondruska tries to come up with a plan to assist Nik Scholtz in Portugal on Friday. Photo: @TennisSA via Twitter

It was a day to forget for Team South Africa on the red claycourts of Club Internacional De Foot-Ball in Lisbon on Friday as they were immediately put on the back foot by Portugal in their Euro-Africa Group 1 Davis Cup playoff.

The South Africans have to win to remain in the group, which is one below the World Group, after they lost 3-2 to Israel in Pretoria in February.

But they got off to the worst possible start on Friday when No 1 player Lloyd Harris went down in straight sets 6-1 6-1 in just 48 minutes to Pedro Sousa in the opening rubber.

Sousa broke Harris’ serve in the very first game of the first set, and did so twice more as Harris won just 47 percent of the points on his first serve, compared to 83 percent by his opponent.

It was a similar situation in the second set, with Sousa breaking serve on three occasions.

Things were slightly better for Nik Scholtz in the second match of the day, as he lost 6-3 6-2 to Joao Sousa.

Scholtz maintained his serve in the first set up to 3-3, but then Souza got the breakthrough in the seventh game, and won three in a row.

Sousa was on the front foot from the start of the second set by breaking Scholtz’s serve immediately, and he maintained the momentum to wrap things up 6-2.

It will be up to doubles pair Raven Klaasen and Ruan Roelofse to keep the tie alive on Saturday.


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