ATP Tour

SA and Turkey share spoils

2015-03-06 21:02
Fritz Wolmarans (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - South Africa and Turkey shared the spoils after the opening day of their Euro/Africa Group II Davis Cup tie played in Mersin, Turkey.

A solid win by Fritz Wolmarans gave South Africa an important first day point that made Earl Grainger, the South African Davis Cup captain, a happy man.

Wolmarans was first up against Turkish No 2, Cem Ilkel and won 6-1, 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 6-1.

Big serving Wolmarans made a good start to the rubber and his serve was on song. Capitalising on an early break, the South African played more freely and after 35 quick minutes clinched the set 6-1.

The second set was a much tighter affair with the rallies longer, Wolmarans still winning it 6-4.

In the third set both players battled to break serve and went into a tie-breaker and at 3-3 Wolmarans stumbled with a double fault which gave Ilkel the edge to win 7-5.

The South African stayed calm and got an early break in the fourth set. He put pressure on the fragile Ilkel serve and broke again to lead 5-1 and clinching the set 6-1.

"I got off to a good start. It was great to win the first rubber for South Africa and put us on the board which was the goal. I approached the game positively and aggressively," he said.

The second singles rubber South African number two Tucker Vorster faced the Turkish No 1 Marsel Ilhan.

Ilhan proved why he is ranked 77 in world tennis as he beat the South African in 108 minutes with 6-4, 6-3, 7-5.

The South African started strong, fighting from the first service game but Ilhan found the break in the notorious seventh game and then held serve to win the first set 6-4.

Despite a strong fight by Vorster in the second set Ilhan put a lot of pressure on Vorster in his service games. The third set started with loads of energy from both players.

Vorster served well to lead 3-1, but Ilhan broke back and served to level at 3-3. The set went with serve until 5-5 when the Turk found the important break in the 12th game to give him the set 7-5 and rubber win.

"Before the match I knew it was going to be tough. I would have to serve and play well to have a chance.

"Marsel put me under a lot of pressure and that made the real difference. I feel I played well and served well and managed to get myself into a strong position in the third set.

"He is a world class player and steps up his game when he needs to - which is something I need to learn," said Vorster.

Despite being treated by the team trainer, Fayaadh Dhansay on court during the first set, Vorster is confident he will be ready for the reverse singles come Sunday.

"I had a minor back spasm which bothered me in the opening set, but after Fayaadh treated me it was fine. With a rest day on Saturday and being cautious I should be ready for the reverse singles on Sunday."

Grainger was happy with the way the opening day turned out.

"Fritz gave us a great start. He remained positive and executed well when he moved forward and shortened the points."

Grainger gave credit to Vorster and said he played well against an accomplished player.

Read more on:    atp tour  |  davis cup  |  tennis


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