Tennis: Tougher second round opponents for Sitak

Artem Sitak with his doubles partner Nicholas Monroe of the USA at the ASB Classic. Photo / Getty Images
Artem Sitak with his doubles partner Nicholas Monroe of the USA at the ASB Classic. Photo / Getty Images

Making the second round of the doubles at the Australian Open came relatively easy for the three Kiwi players, Michael Venus, Marcus Daniell and Artem Sitak. However their second round opponents have now been confirmed and each New Zealand player and their respective partners will play a seeded pair.

Sitak and American Nicholas Monroe will now face seventh seeds Lukasz Kubot (Poland) a winner in Melbourne in 2014 and Marcelo Melo (Brazil) a former world No.1 and Grand Slam titlist while Daniel and Brazilian Marcelo Demoliner take on sixth seeds Raven Klaasen (South Africa) and Rajeev Ram (USA).

"Any players in a Grand Slam second round are good. We've played Kubot and Melo before. They are good players, but we're playing well and can win," said Sitak.

Venus and Swede Robert Lindstedt who won the Australian Open title with Kubot play ninth seeds Ivan Dodig (Croatia) a Grand Slam winner in doubles and Spaniard Marcel Granollers.

Meanwhile New Zealand's top junior tennis player, Ajeet Rai (New Plymouth) has fallen at the final hurdle in the lead up tournament to the Junior Australian Open.

Rai and Dutch doubles partner, Ryan Nijboer reached the final of the Traralgon International in Melbourne but eventually lost to the Italian pair of Francesco Forti and Mattia Frinzi 7-6(6) 7-6(7).

Fellow Kiwi Finn Reynolds from Hawkes Bay made the second round of the doubles draw with his South African partner Joshua Howard-Tripp.

Both Rai, the New Zealand national junior champion and Reynolds the national finalist both lost in the first round of the singles draw at Traralgon and will now compete in the main draw of the Australian Open Junior tournament starting on Saturday.

- NZ Herald

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