South Africa took a vice grip on their┬áDavis Cup tennis tie against Macedonia at Emperor’s Palace in Johannesburg on Friday with both Izak van der Merwe and Rik De Voest posting comfortable singles victories.It left┬áthe hosts on the verge of advancing to the second round in┬áGroup 1 Europe/Africa, which they should by winning Saturday’s doubles tie. Van der Merwe had got the right result in the opening match, getting past the Macedonia┬áNo1 Pedrag Rusevski, 2-6 6-2 6-2 6-4.
De Voest, the South African No1, followed that with a routine win against┬áan outmatched Lazar Magdincev 6-3 6-2 6-1 in just 90 min.
“Our players are usually more formidable in doubles,” said Macedonian captain Vladimir Andonov afterwards while commenting on Saturday’s action, “and we hope to put up a better showing.” You would have to think though that the words are hollow and the “better showing” is relative, more a sake of keeping the disappointing crowd of 500 entertained.
It would come as a surprise if De Voest and Jeff Coetzee do not tie up the match with an unassailable 3-0 lead – thereby allowing De Voest to miss the reverse singles and return a day earlier to the United States for the Indian Wells Masters tournament.