Defending champions Colombians Robert Farah and Juan Sebastian Cabal have been too strong for Kiwi Michael Venus and his South African partner Raven Klaasen in the men's doubles final at the Rome Masters.
Venus and Klaasen playing their first clay court tournament of the season together had high hopes of capturing their first ATP Masters 1000 title.
But they've lost 6-1, 6-3 in 58 minutes to the third seeds who won nearly twice as many points 57 to 32.
While the first set was one-sided Venus and Klaasen did have a chance to get back into the second set when down a break at 3-4 in the second set they had Farah 0-40 on serve.
But they were unable to break and the Colombians broke Kasen's serve in the very next game to take the match.
Despite the defeat, Venus is projected to climb a spot to 15 in the ATP doubles rankings with Klaasen up two spots to 13. The pair rise from 13th to ninth in the race to be among the top eight teams for the season end ATP World Tour finals. Venus and Klaasen share $240,000 for their efforts.
They are top seeds for this week's ATP tournament in Lyon, their final tune-up for the French Open which starts on Sunday night (NZT).
Meanwhile, fellow Kiwi Artem Sitak and his American partner Austin Krajicek will head to Paris early this week.
The second seeds have been beaten 6-3 7-6 (9) in one hour 31 by Australian Matthew Ebden and Swede Robert Lindstedt in the first round of the ATP tournament in Geneva.