Mark Woodforde succumbed to stifling heat, retiring in the third set of the decisive last singles to hand South Africa a 3-2 Davis Cup victory over Australia in Durban yesterday. They will play Russia in the quarter-finals. Wayne Ferreira beat Patrick Rafter in four sets to level the world group first-round match at 2-2 before Woodforde, in obvious distress, was forced to retire against Marcos Ondruska with the South African leading 6-4, 6-2, 1-0.
It was South Africa's first victory over Australia in the Davis Cup and continued their remarkable progress from the zone qualifiers beginning in 1992.
Australia had gone into the final day of the tie, which began a day late on Saturday because of an unfit court, 2-1 ahead after Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge won the doubles.