Lloyd Harris-inspired SA ease to Davis Cup win over Venezuela

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Lloyd Harris (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Lloyd Harris (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

South Africa coasted to a convincing victory without dropping a set in their two-day Davis Cup by Rakuten World Group II tie against Venezuela at Forest Hills Stadium in New York over the weekend.

Replacing regular doubles player Ruan Roelofse on Sunday, Lloyd Harris joined Raven Klaasen in the third match of the tie, wrapping up the win with two fixtures to spare.

With Harris and Philip Henning having won their singles matches the day before, the in-form SA No 1 paired up with Klaasen as they romped to a 6-2, 6-4 triumph over Dimitri Badra and Luis David Martinez.

"Once we went 2-0 up, we tried to be as clinical as possible in finishing the tie," Harris said.

"I've been playing a little bit more doubles (on the ATP Tour) and we haven't played together before, so we thought it was a great opportunity to get a match under our belts."

Roelofse went on to defeat Badra 6-4, 7-6 (5) in a dead rubber clash that was initially scheduled as a reverse singles contest, with the SA team earning a 4-0 victory.

New SA captain Christo van Rensburg was delighted with their dominant performance in his first tie in charge.

"It was great to see that when we found out what each player's weapons were, we could focus on that, and we kept telling ourselves the things we do well, we're going to keep doing as well as we can," he said.

Members of the national squad will now revert their attention to their individual careers before they regather for the 2022 David Cup by Rakuten World Group I promotion playoffs, as they look to climb back up the global ladder in the international team competition.

"I spent time as a youngster watching the older guys play Davis Cup, and they set the bar for us, but we're trying to leave our own mark on the competition for South Africa," said 38-year-old Klaasen, who has turned out in 20 Davis Cup ties since 2009.

"Every time we play a tournament, we represent South Africa, but this is nice because you actually put on the green and gold, and to have a team around you is a fun aspect of tennis."

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