Tennis: Kiwi hope Michael Venus knocked out of ASB Classic

By Michael Burgess at the ASB Classic

Michael Venus couldn't repeat his heroics of 2015 at Auckland's ATP event, but again made light of a huge rankings disparity.

The New Zealand wildcard was ranked more than 600 places below world No19 Benoit Paire but you wouldn't have known in a gripping encounter on Tuesday night.

Venus lost 6-4 7-6 (4) but pushed the Frenchman in an impressive display. Paire is a laconic character but an immense talent.

The 26-year-old grabbed one of his two break opportunities, whereas Venus couldn't convert any of his five chances - including a set point in the second set - on the Paire serve.

"I gave myself some chances but I was unable to capitalise on a couple of opportunities I had," said a downcast Venus after the match.

"I'm quite disappointed in the result. I went out there wanting to win. But if you look at the grand scheme of things it shows me again the level I am able to play at so I guess that is a positive."

Venus now turns his attention to doubles. The 28-year-old and partner Mate Pavic face Australian Chris Guccione and Brazil Andre Sa in the first round on Wednesday.

- NZ Herald

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