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Team SA buoyed by local support

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LLoyd Harris says the support of the South African fans played a big part in their 4-1 victory over Bulgaria.

Lloyd Harris in action during the 2019 Davis Cup game against Dimitar Kuzmanov (Bulgaria) at Kelvin Grove Club in Cape Town on Saturday.

LLoyd Harris says the support of the South African fans played a big part in their 4-1 victory over Bulgaria at Kelvin Grove Club, Newlands, on Saturday.

Harris, the SA No 1, defeated his Bulgaria counterpart Dimitar Kuzmanov 6-3, 7-6 (7/3) in Saturday’s first reverse singles rubber and that gave South Africa an unassailable 3-1 lead, with one singles match remaining in the tie.

It was the second successive triumph for the hosts on Saturday after Raven Klaasen and Ruan Roelofse won the doubles contest for a 2-1 overall lead. Klaasen and Roelofse defeated Alexander Donski and Alexandar Lazarov their 6-3, 6-2.

Harris said after his game he was greatly relieved that the team had achieved their target of winning the tie. South Africa had lost their last two home ties.

“It was tricky, but we succeeded in getting over the line,” said an emotional Harris. “Bulgaria played well and did a tremendous job.

“I drew great inspiration from the crowd, they were electric. At times, they gave me goosebumps. I felt their energy. As the game wore on, I felt more positive and felt the crowd’s energy.

“There was a breeze blowing and it made conditions a little different from yesterday. My serve went well, and I was happy with my play from both ends.

“Both of us were aggressive and there were times when I could use my forehand to good effect.”

Klaasen said that the doubles contest proved to be a turning point in the tie and was far more intense than it seemed.

“We were playing in front of a huge crowd and we knew the expectation. We needed to produce a sound performance and that creates pressure,” said Klaasen.

“When the score goes with serve, the other pressures come to fore and you have to deal with it.

“We took a time to settle down, about 15 minutes or so, and then we started feeling comfortable.”

In the final match of the day, rookies Phillip Henning (SA) and Gabriel Donev (Bulgaria) played the final reverse singles, a dead rubber which Henning won 6-2, 6-3.

African News Agency (ANA)