ATP Tour

SA go one down to Lithuania

Jean Andersen (Gallo Images)
Jean Andersen (Gallo Images)

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.

"This was a great result for us -- it's good to lead 1-0 and I'm happy with the way I played today," Berankis said.

"I cannot say I was under too much pressure, but the opening match is very important and it feels good to have won today."

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.

"With the high altitude, the game was very fast and I made sure I returned well to put pressure on the other player," he said.

"I was really happy with my return today. It's one of my strengths and it worked in my favour today."

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.

"I struggled with my serve throughout the match and he returned incredibly well and put me under pressure," Andersen said.

"The second set was a key point. I showed that I'm still fighting but he was ultimately better.

"I have a full day to recover now and prepare for the game tomorrow."

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.

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