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In a rain-affected first day on Tuesday, fifth seeded Argentina beat South Africa 2-1.
Argentinian number one Genaro Oliveiri gave the South American team the first point when he beat Durban’s Damon Kesaris 6-3 6-2. Calvin Jordaan from Cape Town then levelled the rubber when he came back from set down to beat Manuel Pena Lopez 4-6 7-5 6-2.
In the deciding doubles rubber the Argentinian team of Genaro Oliveiri and Manuel Lopez were too strong for Jordaan and Richard Thongoana winning 6-2 6-2.
“It was very disappointing as our boys had the tie in their sights,” said South African captain Jared Temlett.
“Unfortunately my boys played very tentatively on crucial points against the Argentinians and eventually lost in a marathon rubber which went on till 9pm Mexican time. The boys played hard and gave it their best shot, but Argentina proved to be just too good on the day.”
On Wednesday the South African team came up against third seeded Japan, the group C favourites.
Despite the tie lasting over six hours, Japan beat South Africa 3-0.
Temlett said on Tuesday his team were looking to bounce back from the narrow loss to Argentina when they played their second tie.
“I really felt that the boys were ready for Japan and could turn the thing around” said Temlett.
“The boys really competed well and while the score was 3-0 in the end, it was a very long and gruelling tie as the South African boys dug deep against the group favourites.”
In the singles, Shohei Chikami beat Damon Kesaris 6-4 6-3 while Renta Tokuda beat Calvin Jordaan 6-4 6-3.
In the doubles Kesaris teamed up with Joburg’s Richard Thongona. The Japanese combination of Shohei Chikami and Riki Oshima beat the South Africans 6-7 (4) 6-3 7-5.
“While there is a lot to take out of Wednesday’s performances, it was a very disappointing day for the boys who were desperate to get a win under their belt.
“South Africa will give it our best though against Sweden and you can rest assured we will be back fighting Thursday.”
On Thursday, South Africa will face Sweden in their final group tie before playoffs on Friday and Saturday.
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