SA stay alive in Davis Cup
Izak van der Merwe (File)
Cape Town - The Canadian Davis Cup team was unable to clinch victory in their Davis Cup World Group playoff tie against South Africa on Saturday when the South African doubles team of Raven Klaasen and Izak Van der Merwe upset the favoured Canadian pairing of Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil 6-4, 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (7/5).
Klaasen and Van der Merwe came out strongly and were extremely effective at the net, putting enough pressure on the Canadians to get a late break in the set and take the lead. Nestor and Pospisil were more composed in the second but were unable to capitalise on four set points, allowing the South Africans to force a tiebreak which they won.
It was more of the same in the third set with the Canadians pushing hard for a comeback and saving five match points before Klassen and Van der Merwe were able to close it out on the sixth attempt and claim the straight sets victory.
"We didn't do much well today," said Nestor. "They (South Africa) were better than us in a lot of aspects. They returned well and played the big points better than us. We had chances to get back in the match and we didn't take them."
Canada still have two chances on Sunday to secure the final point needed to keep them in the World Group for 2013. As it stands now, Sunday's lineup will see the No 1 players from each team up first as Milos Raonic will play Van der Merwe. Then, if necessary, Pospisil will face-off against Nikala Scholtz in what could potentially be the deciding fifth rubber. The captains of both teams do have the ability to substitute their players up to an hour prior to the start of the match. Frank Dancevic is the fourth member of Canada's Davis Cup squad.
"All of our guys are competitors; they want to win each and every time, so this defeat hurts," said Canadian captain Martin Laurendeau.
"But we need to quickly digest this loss. We are still in a better position than them going into tomorrow up 2-1. We need to stay calm, regroup and not lose sight of the fact that we are still one win away from staying in World Group with our best player playing first tomorrow." A win over South Africa will allow Canada to keep their place in the elite 16-team World Group for 2013 while a loss would relegate them back to the Americas Zone Group I.