New Zealand doubles specialist Marcus Daniell and Brazilian partner Marcelo Demoliner have been beaten in the third round at the Australian Open, on the show court Hisense Arena in a contest which was even closer than the scoreline would suggest.
Having upset the sixth seeds Raven Klaasen (South Africa) and Rajeev Ram (United States) in the second round they then took on big-serving Australian duo of Sam Groth and Chris Guccione for a place in the quarter-finals.
And it was the Aussies who came away the winners 7-6(9) 6-3 in just over an hour and a half.
The first set featured no breaks of server and the tiebreak was close all the way through with the Kiwi and Brazilian looking set to take the breaker when they went ahead 9-8, but a couple of big serves from Guccione put paid to that.
The second set saw an early break go the Australians way and then Daniell and Demoliner were always playing catch up.
"It was a very close one. We created our chances and had set points, but Guccione came up with massive serves. It was a close match in general, but were disappointed we created some chances and didnt convert them, It was a mixture of a little bit unlucky and half a percent behind the eight ball and that was enough.
It was just a couple of points. They flashed a few returns as times as well in the second set. Weve started the year well and created some momentum and shown that we can consistently bring a high level of tennis to the court."
Regarding playing on the second largest court at the Australian Open Daniell said it was an experienced not to forget.
"I think its the biggest stadium Ive played on. The stadium in Montpellier is big but not 10,000. It was a great atmosphere, a pretty special feeling and being a Kiwi against an Aussie team made it a lot of fun."
The current ranking for Daniell of 53 should improve inside the top 50 as a result of making the third round. He will now travel to Europe with his first tournament in Montpellier in France where he won the title in 2015 with fellow Kiwi Artem Sitak.
At the Australian Open Daniell was one win away from being the first Kiwi male player to make the quarter-finals in doubles at a Grand Slam since Brett Steven and American Pat Galbraith at Wimbledon in 1998.
- This story has been automatically published using a media release from New Zealand Tennis