SA romp home in Davis Cup

2009-03-08 00:00

THE South African Davis Cup team duly wrapped up their BNP Paribas Euro Africa Group one tie against Macedonia with two overwhelming singles’ victories at Emperors Palace in Johannesburg yesterday for a 5-0 whitewash.

With number one, Rik de Voest, already heading for a U.S. tournament on Saturday after SA had clinched the tie 3-0 after the doubles, Braaiketts KZN Open champion Raven Klaasen debuted for his country and didn’t disappoint with a 6-2 6-2 win over Macedonian replacement Illija Martinoski.

Then it was SA number two Izak van der Merwe’s chance to make it two wins from two matches with a 6-4 6-0 victory against another Macedonia replacement, Dimitar Grabuloski.

Next up for SA is Belarus from May 8 to 10 at a venue that will be in South Africa, but the city is still to be decided.

Should SA beat Belarus, they will play a promotion/relegation tie against one of the world group teams, and success would see SA back into the top tier of men’s team tennis.

The Macedonians chose to blood their number three and four players after the tie had already been lost on Saturday following the 6-1 7-6 (7/1) 6-2 doubles defeat of their number one and two singles players,

Predrag Rusevski and Lazar Magdincev, by SA’s De Voest and world number 14 doubles specialist Jeff Coetzee.

Playing at high altitude clearly is a problem for European players.

“There is no doubt that our opposition dislike high-altitude tennis,” said SA non-playing captain John-Laffnie de Jager, after the tie had been concluded.

“Our players all have experience on the Highveld. Most of them learnt their tennis in Gauteng while growing up, so it’s not a problem for them.”

There was no denying De Jager’s opinion by Macedonia non-playing captain Vladimir Andonov.

“We are not used to these conditions but at the same time South Africa are a strong team and I anticipate an easy match for them against Belarus,” he said.

“If they beat Belarus and play for the World Group place, they will have a huge advantage if the tie is played in Johannesburg.

“SA played this tie against us without [SA number one] Kevin Anderson and world number 15 doubles player Wesley Moodie, and yet they are still very good.

“De Voest plays very well at altitude and Coetzee is an outstanding doubles player,” he said.

De Jager said the only player uncertain for the Belarus tie is Moodie. “All the guys at Emperors Palace are available, while Kevin Anderson has said he will play as well,” he said.

“The guys realise we are in a great position to get back into the World Group, but we must take it one game at a time and next up is Belarus.”


Saturday’s doubles

Jeff Coetzee/Rik de Voest (RSA) bt Predrag Rusevski/Lazar Magdincev (Mkd) 6-1 7-6 (7/1) 6-2.

Yesterday’s reverse singles

Raven Klaasen (RSA) bt Illija Martinoski 6-2 6-2; Izak van der Merwe (RSA) bt Dimitar Grabuloski 6-4 6-0.

Result: SA 5 Macedonia 0.

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