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3 Apr 2014
2:44 pm

De Voest plays last tie as number one

Davis Cup stalwart Rik de Voest will play his 20th tie for South Africa after he was named as the number one singles player for this weekend's Euro-Africa Group Two tie against Lithuania.

Rik de Voest during the South African Davis Cup team training session at the Irene Country Club on April 02, 2014 in Pretoria, South Africa. Picture: Reg Caldecott/Gallo Images.

The second round tie will be played at the Irene Country Club, in Pretoria and will open on Friday with Lithuania’s Ricardas Berankis taking on South Africa’s Jean Andersen in the first singles match.

Then De Voest will come up against Laurynas Grigelis in the second singles match.

On Saturday Raven Klaasen, playing his 10th tie for South Africa, spearheads the doubles challenge and will be partnered by Andersen against Lithuania’s Berankis and Grigelis.

In the reverse singles on Sunday, De Voest would be up against Berankis, while Andersen takes on Grigelis in the last match of the tie.

South Africa’s captain John-Laffnie de Jager revealed the team of three at Thursday’s draw in Centurion.

“Jean was our number two singles guy in our Davis Cup tie in Poland last year before he was injured and this week he proved to me that he is the guy with his game style,” De Jager said ahead of the tie.

“With the tennis he plays it suits the conditions and we definitely feel that he is the type of guy that can irritate the opposition and get a win for us.

“We know that Berankis is a very good player and Jean’s [height] will match well with the Lithuanian player.”

Andersen spent his last season out on a foot injury and will play his third competitive match since the injury.

“Physically I’m feeling good, my training has been going well,” Andersen said.

“At first, after spending three months of not playing any tennis, I was really scared, but after having practiced for a good two, three months my foot’s feeling fine.

“I feel confident, my movement on the court is back to how it was and I’m ready to play tomorrow.”

During the tie, De Voest — who made his Davis Cup debut in 2002 — will be handed the Davis Cup Commitment Award which is presented by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) to players who have shown long-standing dedication to representing their country in the Davis Cup.

He handed South Africa the winning point against Monaco after he won his reverse singles match against Monaco’s Benjamin Balleret 7-6 (2), 6-2, 6-3 at the same venue in January. South Africa went on to win the tie 3-2.

“I’m going to go out there and give it my all, play the best tennis that I can and hopefully that’s good enough to get the win,” De Voest said.

“We as a team arrived here early so we are well prepared.

“There are five matches up for grab and we need to win three of those matches come the weekend. If I can contribute two points to that, I’m going to be really happy with that result, particularly in my last match.”

It will be the first time that South Africa and Lithuania meet in Davis Cup tennis. The winner will play against the winner of the Finland/Bosnia-Herzegovina clash in September for a place in Group 1.

Sapa