Going into the second day level at 1-1, after Lloyd Harris had beaten Daniel Cukierman and Ruan Roelofse lost to Yshai Oliel in the opening singles matches on Friday, the SA team were stunned by a gutsy performance from the home nation at the Toto Hakiriya Ashdod Arena.
In the doubles contest, Harris and Raven Klaasen were handed a shock defeat by Cukierman and Jonathan Erlich, who fought hard for a 7-6 (7/3), 3-6, 6-3 win.
“This was a very hard loss to swallow. We were outplayed in the doubles, but I thought we were the better team. We had more break points in the second and third sets, and they had one,” said SA captain Christo van Rensburg.
“But that’s doubles. Sometimes it goes your way, and this time it didn’t go our way.”
Closing out the result, in the reverse singles, Harris went down to Oliel who earned a 6-3, 6-4 victory to secure promotion to Davis Cup World Group I for the Israeli team.
Harris is the 33rd-ranked player in the world while Oliel is a lowly 343rd.
The defeat was yet another is what has been a horror year for Harris whose win on Friday was his first and only success in 2022.
“After a while we were just in disbelief at the shots the guy was hitting against Lloyd, and how close he was hitting some of them down the lines,” Van Rensburg said.
“Israel played well – they played better than us – and unfortunately, it wasn’t our day.
“We need to take this and regroup, but we’ll keep our heads held high and look towards the future and learn from this.”