South Africa clinched second place in Group A behind Serbia at the inaugural ATP Cup after defeating France 2-1 in their final tie on Wednesday in Brisbane, Australia.
Represented by Kevin Anderson, Lloyd Harris, Raven Klaasen, Ruan Roelofse, Kholo Montsi and Jeff Coetzee (captain), the country needed to win 3-0 against France to make the Final Eight of the inaugural team event but Gilles Simon eliminated that possibility by coming back against 22-year-old Lloyd Harris in the opening singles match.
The world number 57 Frenchman Simon defeated Harris 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 to give France a 1-0 lead in their final tie.
In the second singles match, fit-again South African Kevin Anderson fought an extraordinary comeback to edge out Benoit Paire of France in a three-set epic. Anderson saved one match point and twice breaking France’s Paire as he served for the match to win 2-6, 7-6 (7/1), 7-6 (7/5) to force a doubles decider.
Anderson’s victory eliminated France from Final Eight consideration as the Frenchmen also needed to win the tie 3-0 to remain eligible for the Final Eight, which starts in Sydney on Thursday.
“It’s a terrific event. I’m really happy to have been able to represent South Africa here. I’ve looked forward to the event for a couple years now. I think there was such good crowd engagement. Every match we played really had a lot of support,” elated Anderson told the ATP Tour.
In the day’s final encounter, South Africa’s Raven Klaasen and Ruan Roelofse claimed the doubles rubber with a 6-3, 6-4 win over the French pairing Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin.