SA beaten in Davis Cup tie
Stuttgart - South Africa's hopes of playing in the Davis Cup World Group next year are over after they lost their doubles match against Germany on Saturday to give their opponents an unassailable 3-0 lead.
The playoff win for Germany means they stay in the World Group, with the draw for the first round of matches in the 2011 tournament set to take place on Wednesday.
Having lost the two singles matches on Friday, South Africa's Rik de Voest and Wesley Moodie were beaten in the doubles 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 by Germany's Andreas Beck and Christoph Kas in two hours and 20 minutes on Saturday.
The South Africans fought back to take the second set and level the match, but Beck and Kas held on to seal the advantage forged by Philipp Kohlschreiber and Florian Mayer on Friday.
South Africa, meanwhile, will be playing only for pride in Sunday's final two singles games and de Voest has vowed to do his best to avoid a 5-0 whitewash.
"Wesley and I have played doubles together before, so this was not too much of a challenge for us," said a disappointed de Voest.
"Tomorrow, we will give our best to avoid a 5-0 loss and certainly focus on our matches."
Team captain John-Laffnie de Jager rued his side's missed opportunities.
"We had some good shots and some net balls were not in our favour, but this is tennis, so we couldn't do anything about that," said de Jager.
"It was a little unlucky that I had to replace Jeff Coetzee, who suffered a hamstring injury this morning, so we tried to do the best in the time we had.
"All in all we were not converting on our big points and that also made the difference."
Germany captain Patrik Kuehnen, who looks set to lead his country into their 2011 campaign, said the future looks bright for German tennis.
"Well, of course we are very happy to have won here in Stuttgart," he said.
"And it was clearly our goal to have a 3-0 lead after the second day. So tomorrow it will be Florian Mayer and probably Andy Beck playing again.
"I am in the lucky position to have nearly 14 players in the top hundred (in the world rankings) to choose from when it comes to picking my team for the Davis Cup. That is a situation where some countries really envy me.
"Some of my players are just in their mid-twenties and have entered the best age to play tennis.
"In general, of course it would be nice to have a couple of players in the top ten, but we can deal with what we have and that is not too bad either."
On Friday, German number one Kohlschreiber began the domination by cruising past de Voest 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 in the opening rubber on Stuttgart's outdoor clay courts, winning in just under two hours.
Mayer then hammered home Germany's advantage by seeing off a brave challenge from Izak van der Merwe to win 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 (8/6) in 2 hours 40 minutes.
Saturday's doubles result:
Andreas Beck/Christopher Kas (GER) bt Rik de Voest//Wesley Moodie (RSA) 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4
Playing on Sunday:
Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) v Izak van der Merwe (RSA)
Florian Mayer (GER) v Rik de Voest (RSA)
Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) bt Rik de Voest (RSA) 6-4, 6-4, 6-4
Florian Mayer (GER) bt Izak van der Merwe (RSA) 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 (8/6)