Michael Venus has played his last match before he starts the defence of his French Open doubles title in Paris later this month.

The 30-year-old Kiwi and his South African doubles partner have succumbed to the fifth seeds, Britain's Jamie Murray and Brazil's Bruno Soares 6-3, 6-4 in 1 hr 05 in the second round of the Rome Masters.

Venus and Klaasen got off to a great start breaking Murray's serve in the opening game but they couldn't consolidate with Klaasen broken immediately and again in the 6th game as Murray and Soares took control of the set which they won 6-3 in 32 minutes.

However Venus and Klaasen will rue squandering five break point chances in the set.


Games went with serve until the 7th game of the second set when Venus was broken after a wonderful return of serve at the feet of the Kiwi by Soares and 5th seeds kept the momentum going to the finish.

The defeat will see Venus and Klaasen head to Paris after some solid if unspectacular results on clay. Quarter final appearances in Monte Carlo and Madrid and a second round showing in Rome will have them reasonably upbeat they can perform in the best of three sets format at Roland Garros.

Venus is likely to improve his doubles ranking three places to 13, one shy of his career high of 12 and the pair should be seeded at the year's second Grand Slam.

Meanwhile 19 year old Kiwi Ajeet Rai has been beaten in the second round of the ITF Futures tournament in Kampala, Uganda. Rai who has picked up his first ATP points has lost 7-6, 6-1 to Indian Dhruv Sunish.