WORLD TEAM CUP DAY 2: ISRAEL BEATS SOUTH AFRICA 2-1
South Africa put up an astounding performance but suffers a 2-1 loss to Israel in the Pool stage on the second day of quad round-robin wheelchair tennis action at the BNP Paribas World Team Cup in Apeldoorn, Netherlands on Tuesday.
The South African quads team looked to bounce back from a loss to top seeds Australia on the opening day when facing Israel and staged a commendable fight against the 2017 Silver medalists Israel.
24-year-old Donald Ramphadi, who made his BNP Paribas World Team Cup debut in the quads division, continued to show good form when he faced-off against Israel’s Noam Gershony in the first rubber, but the Israeli former world number 1 proved to be too strong for the South African putting his team in the lead with a 6-2 6-2 victory.
In the second singles rubber, quad ace Lucas Sithole was a big boost to his team taking Israel into a deciding doubles match after the two-time grand slam champion overcame a stuttering start to beat 52-year-old Shraga Weinberg in three sets.
Weinberg started well, with some aggressive play that put Sithole onto the defensive and took the opening set 6-4. The world number 4 from Newcastle in KwaZulu-Natal then found his thrust and worked his way back into the match, clinching the second set 6-1 to force a decider.
Sithole was down 2-5 and 0-30 in the third set, then found his momentum to fight back and get it 6-5 up. Both players then toggled back and forth, exchanged breaks to take it to 6-6 but Sithole won the breaker 7-1 to wrapped up a 4-6 6-1 7-6 win to level the tie at 1-1.
Sithole then teamed up with Ramphadi in the doubles rubber against Shraga and Noam to try keep their dream of making the semi-final round, but the Israelis had the upper hand on Tuesday, winning 6-3 6-3 to edge South Africa 2-1.
Coach Holger Losch said he was proud of the team’s fighting spirit, “I am really proud of the team and how they are fighting and competing for every point. Donald is doing extremely well for his first time at a World Team Cup in the quads section and we are excited of the future for this team. Wednesday’s match against Japan is now a must win tie, the team is ready and looking forward to the challenge”.
South Africa will now face Japan on Wednesday’s last day of round-robin phase.