Doubles took centre stage on Saturday at the Ceres Park & Arena, Aarhus, Denmark, as the South African pairing of Raven Klaasen and Ruan Roelofse posted a 6-3 6-0 6-4 win over Danish duo Frederik Nielsen and Thomas Kromann in their Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Group II Euro/Africa third-round clash.
After the intense play of Friday’s opening rubbers, which left the teams all square at 1-all, both camps were desperate to claim a doubles victory ahead of Sunday’s reverse singles encounters.
And the Klaasen-Roelofse pair obliged with style and panache to give their country a 2-1 lead in the three-day tie.
As a result of Klaasen’s emergence as one of the world’s premier doubles players, the 48th-ranked KIA SA Davis Cup team were favourites going into Saturday’s rubber, even though Denmark are in 43rd slot. The SA pairing are undefeated in five outings since 2015.
Any doubts about the impact Klaasen could have on the contest were dispelled when he intervened with great authority in the fifth and sixth games of the first.
In the fifth, Roelofse’s serve was under great pressure at 15-40 as the Danes were poised to make a breakthrough.
However, Klaasen stepped up and did a hatchet job at the net. Three breakpoints later, Roelofse held serve to keep SA’s nose in front at 3-2.
Nielsen, a former Wimbledon’s doubles winner (2012 with Brit Jonathan Marray), was also powerless to stop the wizardry of Klaasen when he served in the sixth game, which he dropped 15-40.
Roelofse also came into his own with decisive play as the Danes tried to steer clear of Klaasen’s path and SA surged ahead 4-2.
With the break under the belt, the South Africans signed off with a 6-3 first-set win after the remaining games went with serve.
The SA duo, now bristling with confidence, were unstoppable in the second set as they raced to a 6-0 rout as their relentless pressure took its toll on the opposition.
The Danes bounced back in the third set to try and salvage some pride, but once the South Africans secured a break in the fifth they were well on their way to a straight-sets triumph, which they signed off with a 6-3 6-0 6-4 scoreline after 101 minutes.
Picture of Roelofse and Klaasen courtesy of BLD Communications.