Potchefstroom - The South African pair of Raven Klaasen and Rik de Voest were convincingly beaten by the Croatian duo of Marin Cilic and Ivan Dodig 6-2, 6-4, 3-6 and 6-1 in the doubles rubber of the their Davis Cup world group playoff tie in Potchestroom on Saturday.
The home team made the unexpected change to their doubles team leaving out Kevin Anderson for Raven Klaasen. The reason given was that Anderson is being 'rested' for his final singles rubber on Sunday, and is not in fact struggling with a knee injury after it was taped up in his match on Friday.
This comes after non-playing captain John-Laffnie de Jager said at the team draw on Thursday that Anderson would play in both the doubles and the singles rubbers.
De Jager was also asked if Anderson would be in good enough shape to play three matches in as many days.
"He's a workhorse, that's why he's here. That's why he's a professional tennis player. At a Grand Slam, they play singles and doubles, you're prepared to play singles and doubles on the same day, or back to back. He's the last guy where I worry about playing three matches," said De Jager.
Cilic, ranked 26 in the ATP singles and Dodig at No 37 outclassed their opponents in hot conditions that should have suited the South Africans.
The Croats began the match by breaking De Voest in the first game, and then broke again in the seventh game to take the first set 6-2. They took the second set through a solitary break of the home team's service.
Klaasen and De Voest fought back in the third when they broke the serve of Dodig in the sixth game. Klaasen later served out to take the set 6-3.
The fourth set proved to be too much for the South Africans as De Voest was broken in the second and sixth games. Cilic easily closed out the match as he held serve to take the set 6-1.
South Africa now head to the final day reverse singles 2-1 down.