ATP Tour

SA dismantle Lithuania

Rik de Voest (Gallo Images)
Rik de Voest (Gallo Images)

Pretoria - South Africa needed two hours and 36 minutes to dismantle Lithuania 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 (5) in the doubles match of the Davis Cup Euro-Africa Group Two tie at the Irene Country Club in Pretoria on Saturday.

The win handed South Africa a vital second point in the second-round tie, giving them a 2-1 lead.

South Africa came into the tie with the score level at 1-1, after Lithuania's number one singles player, Ricardas Berankis, defeated Jean Andersen in straight sets 6-3, 7-6 (2), 6-3, in the opening rubber on Friday.

Davis Cup stalwart Rik De Voest then levelled matters when he outclassed Lithuania's Laurynas Grigelis 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3), 2-6, 7-6 (4).

Berankis and Grigelis had the upper hand in the first set on Saturday, troubling Australian Open runner-up Raven Klaasen and Andersen to win the opener by six games to three.

The South African players regained their composure and bounced back in the second set, breaking Lithuania's serve twice to book a 6-3 win over the visitors.

South Africa carried this momentum into the third set, winning it in 38 minutes.

Lithuania fought back in the fourth set, unsettling the South Africans who made a number of unforced errors, forcing the set to a tie-break. However, South Africa upped their game to win the tie-breaker 7-6 (7-5).

Earlier De Voest, who made his Davis Cup debut in 2002, was handed the Davis Cup Commitment Award. The award is presented by the International Tennis Federation to players who have shown long-standing dedication in representing their country in the Davis Cup.

In the reverse singles on Sunday, De Voest will play his last match for South Africa when he takes on Berankis, while Andersen takes on Grigelis in the last match of the tie.

The winner will play against the winner of the Finland v Bosnia-Herzegovina clash in September for a place in Group 1.

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