Victory in both singles matches gave South Africa a 2-0 lead over Chile in their Davis Cup tennis on Friday (March 8).
Victory in both singles matches gave South Africa a 2-0 lead over Chile in their Davis Cup tennis on Friday (March 8). The match, the South American Zone Final of the Davis Cup, was dominated by the South Africans who took a winning 3-0 lead when they later won the doubles as well.
The match was played in Bogota because, behind the scenes, there has been growing opposition to South Africa competing in the South American zone of this international competition. Chile had refused to stage Friday's match. So the venue was switched to Colombia.
In the first of Friday's singles, Cliff Drysdale beat Chile's Patricio Cornejo 1-6, 6-2, 6-2, 6-3. Despite the shaky start, Drysdale soon recovered his confidence and cruised to a comfortable victory.
South Africa's Bab Hewitt took the second singles match without dropping a set. He beat Chilean Jaime Fillol 6-2, 6-4, 6-4.
SYNOPSIS: Davis Cup tennis caused a political dispute in South America last week. There've been protests because South Africa competes in the South American Zone. The Zone Final -- between Chile and South Africa -- was switched to Colombia when Chile refused to stage the match.
Cliff Drysdale of South Africa -- nearest to camera -- served on the first of Friday's singles matches in Bogota. His opponent was Patricio Cornejo of Chile. And despite Drysdale's experience in tournaments around the world, it was Cornejo who dominated this first set against the tense and shaky South African.
Cornejo serving for set point ... He won it to take the first set six-one, and a major upset seemed to be in the offing. During the changeover, Cornejo received advice from Chile's team coach Luis Ayala.
In the second set, Drysdale took the first game. His service bean to work and his whole game picked up. He went on to even the match by taking the second set six-two. Though there were no signs of political tension during the match, Chile has called on the International Lawn Tennis Federation to remove South Africa from the South American Zone of the Davis Cup.
Drysdale, showing all his old confidence, swept on to take the next two sets six-two, six-three and win the first match for South Africa.
In the second singles match Chile's Jaime Fillol, at the far end, took on another seasoned South African player, Bob Hewitt. Hewitt started confidently and continued with ruthless efficiency to beat Fillol six-two, six-four, six-four. The following day Hewitt combined with his longtime partner Frew McMillan to win a tough five-set doubles match against Fillol and Cornejo. That victory gave South Africa a winning three-nill lead in the Zone final.