New Zealands top mens doubles player Michael Venus and Swedish partner Robert Lindstedt have let a huge opportunity to make the third round of the Australian Open slip from their grasp.
Up against the ninth seeds Ivan Dodig (Croatia) and Marcel Granollers (Spain) in initially very cool and damp conditions the Kiwi and Swede won the first set 6-4, but dropped the second set 3-6 before gaining an early advantage in the third set and then securing several match points but not being able to captilise on them.
Into the third set tiebreak the Croat and Spaniard kept their cool and never looked under too much of a threat to eventually take the breaker seven points to five. The match time was two hours 17 minutes with neither side dominating and both teams scoring to breaks of their opponents serve off seven opportunities.
Twelve double faults (eight of them in the final set) and an overall first service percentage of 49 didnt help Venus and Lindstedt as their game seemed to falter as the match wore on. In the first set they were full of energy and combining well, however Dodig and Granollers who have both won Grand Slam titles previously ground their way back into the match at vital moments while unforced errors by Venus and Lindstedt hindered their chances.
For Venus the result is one better than last years first round effort, but not as good as 2014-15 where he reached the third round of the doubles draw.
Fellow New Zealander Artem 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) in their second round matches on Saturday.
- This story has been automatically published using a media release from New Zealand Tennis