Kiwi doubles player Artem Sitak has suffered a heartbreaking defeat in the third round at the French Open in Paris.
Sitak and his Dutch partner Wesley Koolhof have been beaten by the fifth seeded Colombians Robert Farah and Juan Sebastian Cabal 3-6, 6-4 6-3 in 2 hr 4min.
Sitak and Koolhof were dominant for the best part of a set and two thirds as they broke Farah twice in the first set to take it 6-3 in 35 minutes. The Kiwi saved a break point at 1-1 before playing a lovely volley to hold serve and games went with serve to 4-3. Cabal who had been serving impeccably suddenly found himself 15-40 down with the prospect of Koolhof serving for the match if he got broken.
Sitak and Koolhof had a half chance on the second break point but Sitak hit a difficult volley long and although they had one more break point chance in the game, Cabal kept his cool to hold. It proved a turning point as Koolhof double faulted in the next game to hand the break to the Colombians and Farah served out the set with ease in 48 minutes.
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Games went with serve in the fifth game of the third set when Sitak served a double fault to be broken and Farah and Cabal took control, holding serve for the remainder of the set and breaking Koolhof in the ninth game to win through to the quarter-finals.
Despite the loss, Sitak is projected to move to a career high of 38 in the rankings which come out after the French Open. He will take plenty of confidence into the grass court season.
Meanwhile, top New Zealand singles player Rubin Statham has lost in the second round of qualifying at the ATP Challenger tournament in Shymkent in Kazakhstan. Statham has been beaten 6-2, 7-5 by Russian Mikhail Elgin and now turns his attention to the doubles where he will play with Chinese Taipei player Chen Ti against India's Arjun Kadhe and Kazakhstan's Denis Yevseyev in the first round.
New Zealand women's player Erin Routliffe has won through to the final round of qualifying at the latest ITF Futures tournament in Hua Hin Thailand.
The 23 year old has beaten Australian Maree Casey 6-2 6-3 and will face India's Ramya Natarajan for a place in the main draw. Routliffe and Mexican partner Victoria Rodriguez are the top seeds for the doubles having captured the title together at the previous tournament last week.
They have been drawn against a Belgian and Russian in the first round.
And fresh from winning his first ITF Futures doubles title in China, Rhett Purcell plays Japanese player Kaito Uesugi in the first round of the singles at a Futures tournament in Japan. He is teaming up with Japanese player Issei Okamura for the doubles.