Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
2 minute read
3 Feb 2018
10:54 am

SA and Israel level after day one of Davis Cup tie

Wesley Botton

Lloyd Harris bags a good opening win but the gutsy Nik Scholtz can't stop the Israeli No 1 player Dudi Sela.

Lloyd Harris (RSA) in action during his match against Edan Leshem (ISR) during day 1 singles match of the Davis Cup tie between South Africa and Israel at Irene Country Club on February 02, 2018 in Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo by Christiaan Kotze/Gallo Images)

Taking a point each into the second and final day of the encounter, South Africa and Israel were all square after a hard-fought battle in their Davis Cup Euro-Africa Group 1 first-round tie in Centurion on Friday night.

After bagging the first singles match, the hosts lost out in the second contest, with the tourists levelling the scores at 1-1 on an opening day which was disrupted by a highveld thunderstorm.

In the opening rubber, 20-year-old local prospect Lloyd Harris earned a straight-sets victory over Edan Leshem, taking the first point for the hosts with a 7-5 6-4 win.

Despite struggling to get on top of his opponent, with both players breaking serve in the opening set, Harris felt he had gained control in the second set.

“I went two set points down but managed to fight back and really went into the next gear, got myself pumped and won that first set,” Harris said.

“I think from the second set I really stepped up, starting to play better on every point. I served a lot of aces and got a lot of free points, and I think that was instrumental.”

The home side lost their advantage in the second match, however, with Israeli No 1 Dudi Sela holding off a gutsy effort from Nik Scholtz.

After coasting through the first set, Sela was made to work hard, with the lanky South African snatching the second set before his fancied opponent wrapped up the point with a 6-1 6-7 7-5 victory.

In Saturday’s crucial doubles rubber, starting at 11am, veteran South African Raven Klaasen will join Ruan Roelofse in a tough challenge against former Australian Open doubles champion Jonathan Erlich and Daniel Cukierman.

The doubles contest will be followed by the reverse singles matches, with both teams looking to progress to the second round and avoid a relegation battle.

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