Lloyd Harris guides SA to Davis Cup triumph over Bulgaria

Lloyd Harris in action during the Davis Cup game against Dimitar Kuzmanov of Bulgaria at Kelvin Grove Club in Newlands, Cape Town, on September 14 2019.
Lloyd Harris in action during the Davis Cup game against Dimitar Kuzmanov of Bulgaria at Kelvin Grove Club in Newlands, Cape Town, on September 14 2019.
Image: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

South Africa’s Lloyd Harris fought back from two breaks down in the second set of his match against Bulgaria’s Dimitar Kuzmanov to give the home team an unassailable 3-1 lead in their Davis Cup tie.

Harris won 6-4 7-6 (3) to add to his three-set win over Aleksandar Lazarov on day one‚ which secured two crucial victories for South Africa at the Kelvin Grove Club in Newlands‚ Cape Town.

Team SA ended winning the Euro/Africa II tie 4-1 after Philip Henning beat Gabriel Donev 6-2 6-3 in the dead fifth rubber.

They now enter the playoffs for World Group I‚ which takes place next March. The draw for that tie will be made next Thursday.

Earlier on day two the SA doubles duo of Raven Klaasen and Ruan Roelofse beat Alexander Donev and Lazarov 6-3 6-2 to make it advantage to SA.

Lloyd Harris with non playing captain Marcos Ondruska during day 2.
Lloyd Harris with non playing captain Marcos Ondruska during day 2.
Image: Peter Heeger/Gallo Images

Harris settled the matter allowing Henning a pressure-free chance to claim his first Davis Cup win.

Harris appeared to be cruising comfortably to victory after a solid opening set where he broke Kuzmanov’s serve three times while dropping his own once.

But the Bulgarian No 324-ranked player in the world‚ who beat Roelofse on day one‚ honed in on Harris’s backhand and broke the world No 113 twice to take a 3-0 lead in the second set.

Harris broke back in the fourth game but with the score at 5-4 Kuzmanov had a chance to take it into a deciding set.

The 10th game saw Harris produce his best tennis of the match‚ including a rasping forehand down the line at full stretch to bring make it 15-30.

The momentum of the match swung with that shot and Harris levelled at 5-5 before going on to take the tiebreak 7-3.

“It was great to play the rubber that gave the team the win‚ especially after a tricky match yesterday and another one today‚” Harris said.

Lloyd Harris signs autographs for children in Cape Town.
Lloyd Harris signs autographs for children in Cape Town.
Image: Peter Heeger/Gallo Images

“Especially being a double break down I managed to get one break back early‚ but he kept serving well throughout the set.

“At 4-5 I had to put my foot down and use the wind behind me. I played some really aggressive points‚ using some heavy forehands and when I got the break‚ I told myself this match is mine. I was not going to go to a third set.

“That shot to go 15-30 was really aggressive. I was attacking in that point and he went down the line behind me and I stretched and hit that ball really well.

"I played another good point afterwards‚ but that shot gave me confidence and a boost and the crowd was electric.

“I had goose bumps as everyone got to their feet. Mentally I felt great from there. I was really positive and I was putting everything into every shot.”

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