Johannesburg - South Africa took a major knock on Saturday in their quest for another Davis Cup World Group playoff clash, with Rik de Voest and Jean Andersen going down in straight sets in their doubles tie against the Polish pairing of Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski.
The South African duo fought hard but struggled against Fyrstenberg and Matkowski, both ranked among the top 20 doubles players in the world, in a 7-5, 7-6 (7/2), 7-2 defeat in Zielona Gora.
The South Africans would go into Sunday's reverse singles with the score 2-1 in favour of Poland.
Andersen said after the rubber he was pleased with the performance, but disappointed with the result.
"It was a good match. A few points here and there made the difference," Andersen said afterwards.
"Our opponents played the big points better than us. We created opportunities but they played better in the end. I'm happy with the match but of course disappointed about losing."
Team captain John-Laffnie de Jager said the South Africans did not gel as well as their Polish opponents.
"The problem is the guys played well at different times," said De Jager.
"Once Rik played a bit better while Jean played worse and vice versa. At the same time the Polish team kept more or less the same level of play together, as a team."
De Jager said his side started the match better.
"At the beginning we started with a lot of energy.
"We were strong. They instead came on the court as favourites and they felt it. So that was an extra pressure for them.
"From the very beginning we were full of energy and it showed in the score. We were up 4-2. Unfortunately we could not capitalise the lead."
De Voest, who battled for a singles victory over Lukasz Kubot on Friday, will face world No 24 Jerzy Janowicz in the reverse singles on Sunday, while Andersen squares up against Kubot.
"We are 1-2 today but you need three points to win a tie. So it's not over yet," added De Jager.
"We've got two more matches to play. We saw Jerzy play on Friday so we will sit down and make a game plan for tomorrow.
"Anything can happen. He can break a leg for instance. So the tie is not over yet."