Lloyd Harris led South Africa to victory over Bulgaria in their Europe/Africa II Davis Cup tie at Kevin Grove Club on Saturday.
Harris defeated Dimitar Kuzmanov 6-3, 7-6 (7/3) to give South Africa an unassailable 3-1 lead in the tie.
The local hero dominated the opening set but came unstuck early in the second, going down a double break.
But Harris showed grit and determination to fight his way back in the set, eventually forcing a tie-breaker which he comfortably won 7-3.
On what was a slow hard-court, both players struggle to hold serve with each claiming only two aces.
Harris lost his serve three times in the match but crucially capitalised on five of nine break points.
Harris said after his game he was greatly relieved that the team had achieved their target of winning the tie. South Africa had lost its last two home ties.
“It was tricky, but we succeeded in getting over the line,” said an emotional Harris. “Bulgaria played well and did a tremendous job. I drew great inspiration from the crowd, they were electric. At times, they gave me goosebumps. I felt their energy. As the game wore on, I felt more positive and felt the crowd’s energy.”
He continued: “There was breeze blowing and it made conditions a little different from yesterday. My serve went well, and I was happy with my play from both ends. Both of us were aggressive and there were times when could use my forehand to good effect.”
Earlier on Saturday, Raven Klaasen and Ruan Roelofse beat Gabriel Donev and Alexander Donski 6-3, 6-2 in the doubles to give the hosts a 2-1 lead.
The tie was level at 1-all after Friday’s first day, with Harris beating Alexandar Lazarov 6-4, 6-7 (3/7), 6-3 and Roelofse losing 7-5, 7-5 to Kuzmanov.
In the final match of the day, rookies Phillip Henning (SA) and Gabriel Donev (Bulgaria) played the final reverse singles, a dead rubber. Henning won 6-2 6-3 for an eventual 4-1 tie victory for South Africa.