Israel moved a step closer to regaining its place in the Davis Cup World Group as it won its first away match in the tournament for nearly four years, defeating South Africa 3-2.
The country’s went into final day level at 1-1. Edan Leshem lost the first rubber, beaten by Lloyd Harris 7-5 6-4, but Dudi Sela leveled the match, beating Nik Scholtz 6-1 6-7, 7-5.
The Israelis then found themselves up against it on Saturday, as Sela and Jonathan Erlich lost the doubles to Raven Klaasen and Ruan Roelofse 5-7 6-4 6-4. However, Sela beat Harris 7-6, 6-1, before Leshem clinched the tie, beating Scholtz 6-3, 7-5.
Captain Harel Levy said: “Obviously we are happy with the win and credit to my players who delivered. Dudi Sela had to play eight sets in less than 24 hours and that was a big ask. I was hoping after the doubles we would need only one point but we lost the doubles, Dudi only had 30 minutes to shower, eat and recover – and hats off to him for coming back on court and beating Harris the way he did.”
Israel next visits the Czech Republic, over the weekend of 6-7 April, the winner advancing to the World Group playoffs.
While not affecting the action on the court, BDS South Africa, together with several anti-Israel organisations, held a protest outside the match venue.