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De Jager: Doubles vital

South African team captain John-Laffnie de Jager said the doubles encounter on Saturday will be crucial in determining the outcome of their Euro-Africa Group One Davis Cup tie against the Netherlands in Potchefstroom.

ÔÇ£If you look at Davis Cup ties, the majority are won by the side that wins doubles,” De Jager told Sapa. “Saturday’s doubles will be key for us.ÔÇØ

Kevin Anderson levelled the singles with his victory in four sets over Dutchman Thomas Schoorel after Rik de Voest lost his earlier match against Robin Haase, also in four sets.

ÔÇ£We just have to focus on our team. Saturday is a big day and going into Sunday, either 2-1 down or up, is going to be huge for us,ÔÇØ De Jager said.

In De Voest’s match, a set up and serving for a 3-1 lead in the second set, Haase broke his serve and began to turn the match. ÔÇ£Rik being up a set and a break, and five game points to go up three one ÔÇô Haase was actually losing it a little bit,” said the captain.

“It’s amazing how one game can change a whole match. He (Haase) got more confidence and started playing more aggressively,ÔÇØ explained De Jager.

Haase beat De Voest in four sets and it meant Anderson had to win his match against Schoorel to draw level with the Dutch.

ÔÇ£I haven’t really played against a guy who hit the ball that hard from the baseline consistently,ÔÇØ said Anderson.

ÔÇ£I felt that, over time, if I just took care of my own service games and making more returns (on Schoorel’s serve) I would start making inroads.ÔÇØ

With the third set going to a tiebreak , at a set a piece, Anderson said winning the breaker was the turning point.

ÔÇ£That was a big stage of the match and, having won that, it really allowed me to step up and control the match in the fourth.ÔÇØ

De Jager always felt that Anderson would be too strong for Schoorel. ÔÇ£I knew this guy was going to come out going for everything, and in that first set he was coming off but I knew Kevin would be able reel him in,ÔÇØ said De Jager.

ÔÇ£I said to Kevin, ‘stay with it, keep your serve and create opportunities because at some stage he’s going to start missing’.

“I just felt that if he could play like that over five sets, then I’d take my hat off to him but mentally I knew that Kevin would be too strong for him,ÔÇØ he said.

The South African captain would not confirm who would partner Wesley Moodie in the doubles. Izak van der Merwe is listed in the draw but the captain is permitted to make a change to the team up to an hour before the match starts.

Moodie said he expected Haase to be a certainty in the doubles even though he was not initially pencilled in for the doubles.

Dutch captain Jan Siemerink hinted that, with Haase playing well on Friday, he would likely play in the doubles match while Jesse Huta Galung and Igor Sijsling were the two players nominated at the draw on Thursday.


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