ATP Tour

High Davis Cup hopes for SA

2016-07-06 12:30
Raven Klaasen (Gallo)

Cape Town - South Africa's hopes in the forthcoming Euro-Africa Group Two tie against Lithuania on Tuesday received a much-needed double dose of good news with the announcement by the International Tennis Federation of the teams for the tie.

Not only has world 16th-ranked doubles player, Raven Klaasen, confirmed his availability for the four-man South African squad, but Lithuania's only world-class player, Ricardas Berankis, 54th in the world singles rankings, has ruled himself out of the tie.

With top South African player Kevin Anderson continuing a five-year, self-imposed boycott of the Davis Cup, Berankis was widely considered as likely to tilt the scales in favour of Lithuania - despite his surprise first-round defeat in the current Wimbledon tournament.

Now, South Africa's two singles nominations, Lloyd Harris (315th in the world rankings) and Tucker Vorster (at 356th) can approach their match-ups against  Lithuanian counterparts Laurynas Grigelis (372nd in the world) and Lukas Mugevicius (796th) with renewed hope and confidence.

In addition, with Klaasen confirming his status in the opening two rounds of the doubles at Wimbledon this week and Ruan Roelofse as his likely partner, recently appointed South African Davis Cup captain Marcos Ondruska will justifiably feel he has an ace up his sleeve in this department.

But success in a tie that will present the winners with an opportunity to gain promotion to next year's Euro-Africa Group One segment of the Davis Cup in a match-up against either Turkey or Bosnia later in the year is by no means a certainty - with Lithuania having an ace of their own to counter South Africa's apparent doubles advantage.

The tie at the Azuolynas Tennis Centre in Kaunas, Lithuania will be played on a clay court - a surface on which the home team's players are far more familiar and one on which South Africans have often battled.


South Africa: Lloyd Harris, Tucker Vorster (initially designated singles players), Raven Klaasen, Ruan Roelofse (designated doubles players). Team Captain: Marcos Ondruska.

Lithuania: Laurynas Grigelis, Lukas Mugevicius (designated singles players), Tadis Babelis, Tomas Vaise (doubles). Team Captain: Rimvydas Mugevicius.


Read more on:    atp tour  |  davis cup  |  sy lerman  |  raven klaasen  |  tennis

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