Cape Town - Lloyd Harris gave South Africa a winning start in their Europe/Africa II Davis Cup tie against Bulgaria at Kevin Grove Club on Friday.
Harris defeated Alexandar Lazarov 6-4, 6-7 (3/7), 6-3 in front of a boisterous home crowd.
It was a far from perfect performance from Harris, the world No 113, who lost his serve three times in the match.
Harris appeared to be coasting when leading by a set and 2-0, before the 502nd-ranked Bulgarian launched a comeback.
Lazarov won the second set 7-3 in the tie-break, but Harris quickly regained his composure to break early in the decider before closing the match out and give the hosts a 1-0 advantage.
Later on Friday, South Africa's Ruan Roelofse will go up against Dimitar Kuzmanov.
The 26-year-old Kuzmanov is ranked No 324 in the world with the 29-year-old Roelofse a few hundred places below at 681.
The doubles and reverse singles will be played on Saturday's final day.
Raven Klaasen, ranked eighth in the world in doubles, will be partnered by Roelofse (273 doubles) with the visitors naming Alexander Donski (507 doubles) and Gabriel Donev (994) as their doubles pair.