The Monaco Davis Cup team made a dream start to their Euro/Africa Group 2 Tie vs South Africa on Friday.
The visitors, playing at the Irene Country Club outside Pretoria won the opening rubber when their second ranked player, Romain Arneodo beat South African number one, Rik De Voest 7-5 3-6 7-5 5-7 6-4.
Rik de Voest of South Africa in action against Romain Arneodo during the Opening singles of the Davis Cup tie between South Africa and Monaco at the Irene Country Club on Thursday.
Photo credit: Reg Caldecott
The rubber lasted 4 hours 15 minutes and started over two hours after the scheduled start time of 10h00 due to heavy rains over the tournament site.
De Voest was visibly disappointed after his loss. “I put a big effort in out there today. I really wanted to do well. Irene is my home club where I learnt the game and it was a dream come true to play for my country in front of my home crowd. But it wasn’t to be. I must give credit to Romain who played a good match and played the big points well and lifted his game when he needed to, and that made the difference out there” said de Voest.
Arneodo was delighted to have pulled off the win. “Our team came early because of the altitude and I really felt prepared going into today’s rubber. Today the balls were heavy and everything was heavy so it suited me a lot” said Arneodo. “I am very proud, it was the first time I ever played Davis Cup for Monaco and the first time I played a five set match.”
The win puts added pressure on South Africa’s second singles player, Nik Scholtz who has a mammoth task against the visitors top player Benjamin Balleret ranked 276 which is 676 places higher than Scholtz..
When bad light stopped play Scholtz was leading Balleret 7-5 1-3.
On Saturday at 10h00 the Scholtz vs Balleret rubber will be completed. That will be followed by the Opening ceremony which in turn will be followed by the doubles rubber.
South African Captain, John-Laffnie De Jager said that he would have to regroup with his team tonight to discuss the strategy. “We were counting on Rik winning and giving us a point but we all know how different Davis Cup is from tournament tennis. Monaco played well to win the opening rubber. Our team are fighters, Nik is in a good position against their number one and tonight well strategize on how best to handle the situation we are in.”
EUROPE/AFRICA ZONE GROUP 2 – FIRST ROUND
SOUTH AFRICA vs MONACO
Venue: Irene Country Club, Pretoria, South Africa (hard court – outdoor)
Order of Play/Results
Friday 31 January 2014 (12h30 delayed start due to rain. Original start time 10h00)
Rik De Voest (RSA) lost to Romain Arneodo (Mon) 5-7 6-3 5-7 7-5 4-6
Nik Scholtz (RSA) vs Benjamin Balleret (Mon) 7-5 1-3 (bad light stopped play)
Saturday 01 February 2014 (10h00)
Nik Scholtz (RSA) vs. Benjamin Balleret (Mon) (to be completed)
Raven Klaasen/Ruan Roelofse (RSA) vs Guillaume Couillard/Thomas Oger (Mon)
Sunday 02 February 2014 (10h00)
Rik De Voest (RSA) vs Benjamin Balleret (Mon)
Nik Scholtz (RSA) vs Romain Arneodo (Mon)