A delighted South African Davis Cup team celebrated with a lap of honour around the Irene Country Club match court after beating Luxembourg 3-0 on Saturday. Dean O’Brien and Ruan Roelofse gave the hosts the victory when they beat the hot highveld weather and Luxembourgers Ugo Nastasi and Mike Scheidweiler 6-3, 7-5, 6-2 in one hour and 39 minutes. South African singles players, Tucker Vorster and Lloyd Harris put South Africa into a comfortable overnight position after both winning their respective singles rubbers in straight sets on Friday.
Marcus Ondruska, the South African captain was delighted with the win especially seeing it was his maiden outing as captain. He says: ‘The win was real good for not only the country but the players. My players executed like true professionals and they lifted their games to a good level.’ Ondruska admitted that although his team had won 3-0 it was never easy: ‘Each and every Davis Cup tie has its challenges. The rankings play a small part and anything can happen at any time in Davis Cup competition, and we’ve seen that happen over the years. My boys brought a lot to the table, prepared well and enjoyed each other on and off the court which made the big difference out there.’
Roelofse says that O’Brien and himself were never worried during the match especially in the second set where they were extended to 12 games by their opponents: ‘We made a real solid start which set the tone for the rubber. I was serving well, holding serve with some ease which took off the pressure. I had a high percentage of first serves and that made it easier. In fact I’m impressed with myself having lost only four points on serve throughout the rubber. We were always ahead and never worried.’ O’Brien says that going into Saturday’s doubles Luxembourger, Ugo Nastasi had the advantage having had played in the singles on Friday which gave him a good feel for the court and conditions: ‘Ruan and I didn’t do anything special. We played solid and kept percentage which paid off. It was great that we could get on top of our opponents early as Nastasi had played Friday and knew the conditions which we didn’t know.’
O’Brien concluded that he was very happy with the South African teams overall performance: ‘We are all really playing well and having not dropped a set in two days shows the good form we are in.’ South Africa now waits for the winner of the Lithuania vs Norway tie being played also this weekend in Siauliai, Lithuania. On Sunday the reverse singles will be played starting at 10:00 however both singles rubbers will be reduced to the best of three tie-break sets.
Photo credit: Reg Caldecott