South Africa’s Davis Cup promotion hopes suffered a massive setback after back-to-back upsets on Day 2 of their World Group 1 play-off tie against Bosnia and Herzegovina in Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, on Saturday.
The day started with the teams level-pegging at 1-all after but after Saturday’s two rubbers, Bosnia sealed the tie with a 3-1 win.
The SA team arrived at the arena on Saturday hoping to claim the doubles rubber with the world-class Raven Klaasen and Ruan Roelofse going up against Mirza Bašic and Tomislav Brkic.
Much against expectations, the Bosnians pair shocked their opponents by claiming straight sets 7-6(4) 6-3 win.
More woe was to follow in the next rubber when Lloyd Harris was forced to retire due to continuing back problem in the second set against Damir Džumhur in the battle of the No 1s.
Džumhur led 2-1 at the time when play was called off after he lifted the first set 6-1.
After the match, SA captain Marcos Ondruksa said the squad was devastated by the way the tie unfolded on Saturday.
“No one saw this coming. It was not the result we had hoped for,” Ondruska said after the doubles defeat.
“Ruan and Raven didn’t play badly. The courts were slow, and the Bosnians made some unbelievable return of serves that passed our boys at a million miles per hour.”
“It turned as SA No 1 Harris woke up Saturday morning with a back spasm and by match time he was still battling with the condition.
He said after the match, it was a miserable day for Team South Africa, given the doubles defeat and the premature end to his singles rubber.
“Ruan and Raven had a tight match and they were not able to convert and that made it a miserable start to the day,” said Harris.
“We were hoping they would pull through to give us a 2-1 lead in the tie, but it was not to be.
“Then I went in there not feeling at my best after waking up this morning with a back spasm.
“I gave it the best effort I could but Damir (Dzumhur) was just too good on the day and made my life very difficult.
“As it turned out it was just too much for me and I couldn’t finish the match. I gave it my all but now it’s time to move on and come back stronger next time.”
The final rubber between the two No 2s was called off.