SA gains lead in Davis Cup group event

Overcoming an early shock in front of an enthusiastic, capacity crowd at the Tali Tennis Centre, the well-tuned doubles combination of Wesley Moodie and Jeff Coetzee gave South Africa what could prove a decisive 2-1 lead in the Euro-Africa Group 2 Davis Cup tie in Helsinki on Saturday afternoon.

Moodie and Coetzee, the ATP’s fifth-most successful doubles combination this year, took the loss of the first set in their stride against Jarkko Nieminen and Henri Kontinen and ran out comfortable 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 winners in the end.

“This was possibly the pivotal match of the entire tie,” said South African team captain John-Laffnie de Jager from Helsinki. “We’re taking nothing for granted, but we should be able to win at least one of the two reverse singles matches and tie up the match.”

In a game between the respective countries’ number-one players, South Africa’s Kevin Anderson faces the formidable 26th world-ranked Nieminen on Sunday, followed by a scheduled match between Rik de Voest and Juho Paukko.

Anderson and Nieminen both won their opening matches in straight sets on Friday.

The winner of the tie in Helsinki will face either Denmark or Luxembourg in a continuation of a quest to gain promotion to the Davis Cup’s Euro-Africa Group 1 next year.—Sapa

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