SA whip Ireland by 5-0

WHITEWASHING THE IRISH: Ruan Roelofse of South Africa in action against Sam Barry of Ireland during the reverse singles of the Davis Cup tie between South Africa and Ireland at Irene Country Club, Pretoria, yesterday PICTURE: GALLO IMAGES
WHITEWASHING THE IRISH: Ruan Roelofse of South Africa in action against Sam Barry of Ireland during the reverse singles of the Davis Cup tie between South Africa and Ireland at Irene Country Club, Pretoria, yesterday
PICTURE: GALLO IMAGES

THE South African tennis team retained their spot in the Davis Cup Euro-Africa Zone Group 2 with a whitewash over Ireland in a relegation tie at the weekend.

Few had given the SA team – without Kevin Anderson and doubles star Raven Klaasen – a chance against an Irish team boasting players with superior world rankings.

But Fritz Wolmarans set the tone for the victory by beating Irish No 1 James McGee in the opening rubber at Irene Country Club on Saturday.

Together with SA top seed Tucker Vorster and doubles pair Dean O’Brien and Ruan Roelofse gave a good account of themselves.

Wolmarans, ranked 477th, shocked McGee – who is placed 127 places above him in the world – with a threesets to one victory.

Vorster did the same against Irish No 2 Sam Barry.

O’Brien and Roelofse ensured that it was the Irish team that went down to Group 3 with a straight sets win in the doubles against James Cluskey and David O’Hare.

Being up 3-0 on Saturday already deemed the reverse singles rubbers yesterday only a formality as the result for the tie had already been decided.

But that did not stem the tide. SA took the result to 4-0 as Vorster defeated Irish No 1 James McGee 6-1 7-5.

Ruan Roelofse, who replaced Wolmarans for the No 2 seed’s rubber, then defeated Sam Barry in two sets to ensure SA claimed the whitewash.

Captain Earl Grainger insisted ahead of the crucial tie that the encounter would mark the start of a new era for SA tennis with a new breed of players emerging.

He said before yesterday’s game: “Each member of my squad played an important part in the overall victory.”

– Chumani Bambani

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