The South African Davis Cup team sits tied with Bosnia and Herzegovina 1-1 following the opening day of action in the Davis Cup World Group 1 playoff tie at Arena Zenica in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Bosnia’s top player Damir Dzumhur secured the first victory of the day on Friday, defeating South Africa’s Ruan Roelofse in a tightly contested match 7-6(3) 7-5 before the country’s No 1 player, Lloyd Harris, overcame Mirza Basic 7-5 6-2.
After losing a tight one-hour 37-minutes affair to seasoned journeyman Dhumhur, Roelofse said despite the loss, he felt good about his performance.
“It was tough out there, he (Damir Dhumhur) is a good player and ranked way above me but I have played many Davis Cup matches against players ranked around 100 in the world, so I knew what to expect going into the match.
“Even though I was down in both sets, he served for both sets 5-3 and 5-4 – I just kept doing my thing and Marcus (Ondruska) reminded me to be aggressive on my opportunities and it paid off in those moments.
“I kept fighting and gave myself a chance but I just couldn’t execute good enough in the end to get through, but I felt good about the way I played and I enjoyed myself out there,” added Roelofse.
In the second match of the day, Harris turned things around for South Africa. He dominated Bosnia’s No 2 player and closed out the second match of the day in just over an hour.
The 28-year-old Bosnian challenged Harris in the opening set, forcing a tiebreak, but a strong performance from the Cape Town native and support from his teammates helped him capture the win.
“First of all, I am very happy with the win, it was a good battle out there today and a solid match overall for me. It was a tight first set, he (Mirza Basic) was holding serve, getting some free points on his serve and I was in there with a break opportunity or two but didn’t quite get it,” commented Harris.
“However, I felt comfortable on serve throughout regardless and I took my chances – at 5-5 and I never looked back from there. I broke three straight games after that in the second set and came out firing, played some aggressive tennis and kept my composure.
“So, I am very happy with the overall performance,” said an elated Harris.
Play picks back up on Saturday at 2pm SA time with the doubles match, scheduled to feature Raven Klaasen and Ruan Roelofse against Mirza Basic and Tomislav Brkic. The team captains have until one hour before the match to change their nominations.
The doubles rubber will be followed by the two reverse singles matches.
SATURDAY ORDER OF PLAY
Raven Klaasen (RSA) / Ruan Roelofse (RSA) v Mirza Basic (BIH) and Nerman Fatic (BIH)
Lloyd Harris (RSA) v Damir Dhumhur (BIH)
Ruan Roelofse (RSA) v Mirza Basic (BIH)