SA to face Portugal in Davis Cup Tie


The anticipation for Tennis South Africa (TSA) is over. Finally, the KIA South Africa Davis Cup team know who their opponents will be next month in the crucial Euro/Africa Group 1 play-off tie.
With Ukraine beating Portugal 3-1 over the weekend in Bucha, Ukraine on outdoor hard courts at the Campa Tennis Club, Portugal as loser will now face South Africa. The tie will be played from 19-20 October in Portugal and a venue and surface still to be announced by the hosts.
South Africa and Portugal have played each other three times with South Africa leading 2-1 in the head-to-head series. In 1926 South Africa beat Portugal 4-1 in Sutton, England and then in 2000 Portugal beat South Africa 3-2 in Porto, Portugal. The last tie both teams played each other was at the Westridge Park Tennis Stadium in Durban where South Africa trounced Portugal 5-0 in the Euro/Africa Group 2 quarter-finals. The rules of Davis Cup stipulate that the team that travelled away in the last tie played would then host the next tie.
Marcos Ondruska, the KIA SA Davis Cup team captain said that the tie was extremely important. “This is a very important tie with larger consequences as we try to stay in Group 1 and make a push next year into the World Group” said Ondruska. “With the newly announced Davis Cup format starting next year it is important that we keep ourselves in Euro/Africa Group 1 to have any chance of getting a spot in the World Group.”
Ondruska said that South Africa and Portugal had very little time to prepare for the tie and no-one until Sunday knew who would be playing who. “The tricky part here is that the tie is only one month away, and both teams will have to see what rabbits can be pulled out of the hat. Portugal has the advantage being the hosts, so we will wait to see what they have in store for us regarding location and surface.”
South Africa and Portugal are only expected to announce their teams 10 days before the tie in the second week of October.