A ruthless Wayne Ferreira gave Thomas Enqvist no
chance at all in the first match on Sunday in the Davis
Cup quarter finals between host nation Sweden and South
Africa at Vaxjo. By winning comfortable 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 he
put South Africa back in the business, the score being
2-2 before the all important encounter between Jonas
Bjorkman and Grant Stafford. Ferreira made a most
impressive performance. He moved well, had wonderful
precision in the groundstrokes and excelled with several
crisp volleys. On the other hand, Enqvist seemed to have
problems finding his timing and now lost a live Davis Cup
rubber for the first time since August 1995, when he was
defeated in the semifinals at Las Vegas by both Pete
Sampras and Todd Martin. Since then, Thomas has won nine
straight live singles in the cup, but this time he came
far away from success.
At the beginning, both players used the safety tactic. After settling down, Ferreira acted with more authority and broke through in the 7th game. Enqvist made a fast response and took the South Africans serve to level at 4-4 with a powerful forehand down the line on the breakpoint. For the duration of the set it was all Ferreira who won it 6-4 after demonstrating his excellent footwork on a couple of occasions.
Everyone in the crowd expected the Swede to take the second set when he lead 4-1. However, Ferreira raised to situation and took all the remaining games in the set and won it 6-4. On the setpoint, Enqvist had a slip of concentration and missed a volley from a fine position.
The third set started with three breaks with the brilliant Ferreira capturing two of them. From then on, games went with serves but the South African had no less than three matchpoints at 5-3. The battling Enqvist saved all with brave fighting spirit and another one in the next game. But finally Ferreira deservedly won on his 5th matchpoint when the Swede netted a deep serve with a poor return. Neither of the players served on top (both only snatched 3 aces) but Ferreira returned much better and also played with a lot more of imagination and determination. Enqvist doublefaulted five times and Ferreira four.
The match lasted 1 hour and 54 minutes, and Ferreira left the court with great pride after his best ever Davis Cup effort.
Text from DavisCup by NEC