Ireland’s Davis Cup team have lost both opening rubbers in their Europe/Africa Zone Group II match against Lithuania at the Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club.
Sean Sorensen’s charges will now have to win their remaining three encounters to record an unlikely victory on Sunday evening.
World number 508 James McGee lost little caste in defeat in the opener against Ricardas Berankis.
Berankis, a former junior world number one who captured the underage US Open title in 2007, had to work have for a 6-7 (2/7) 6-4 6-4 6-3 victory.
Irish number one Conor Niland, who currently occupies a career-high ranking of 162 in the world, was expected to get Ireland’s weekend back on course against Laurynas Grigelis.
However, Grigelis hadn’t read the script, and he belied his tender years and lowly world ranking to record a comprehensive 6-2 6-3 6-1 victory against a stunned Niland.
The Lithuanian’s powerful serve and cultured groundstrokes prevented the Limerick man from getting into any real rhythm and the 28-year-old incurred a code violation for smashing his racket in the third set as his frustration boiled over.
On this evidence the 18-year-old from Lithuania won’t be ranked at 429 for very long.