South Africa will turn out in the Euro-Africa Group 2 division again next season, after going down 3-2 against Lithuania in their Davis Cup second round match in Kaunas on Sunday.
Trailing the hosts 2-1 heading into the third and final day of the contest, the national men’s team were defeated with a match to spare after teenage prospect Lloyd Harris lost in straight sets to Lithuania No 1 Laurynas Grigelis, who earned a convincing 6-1 6-1 6-3 victory.
Tucker Vorster went on to beat Tadas Babelis 6-3 6-2 in the dead rubber fifth match for a consolation win.
The South Africans had lost both singles rubbers on the opening day of the claycourt fixture.
Grigelis defeated Vorster 6-7(1) 6-3 6-3 6-2 before Lukas Mugevicius also fought back from a set down to beat Harris 3-6 7-6(5) 6-0 6-4.
In Saturday’s doubles rubber, Raven Klaasen and Ruan Roelofse had kept the SA team’s hopes alive, earning a dominant 6-1 6-1 6-3 victory over Grigelis and Mugevicius to take the tie into the final day.