The ASB Classic dream may be over for Kiwi Marcus Daniell and Austrian partner Philipp Oswald but they have high hopes for the rest of 2020.
Daniell and Oswald fell at the final hurdle yesterday, beaten 7-6 (3), 6-3 by Queenstown-raised Ben McLachlan and Luke Bambridge (Britain) in the doubles decider.
The win was deserved for McLachlan and Bambridge, and is the second successive Auckland title for McLachlan, who now plays for Japan after switching allegiance in 2017 to his mother's birth country.
Daniell and Oswald were disappointed but have no doubt their partnership is on the right track.
They teamed up only in September and have also reached two semifinals (Moscow and Vienna).
"[It] wasn't my best day and still we managed to almost win a set," said Oswald. "I'm really looking forward now and there's a lot of tennis to be played this year. [The] teams that make it to the O2 [Arena] in London, those are the teams that stick together and we're committed to playing in London."
Oswald is referring to the season-ending ATP Finals in the English capital, which feature each year's eight top-ranked doubles combinations. Michael Venus has qualified the past two years, and Daniell wants to emulate him.
"That's the goal every year," said Daniell. "But to be honest, this is the first year where I've felt like I've really got a good shot. I feel like this is a strong partnership, we've got all the same goals, the same philosophies around how to get better, and we've played better and better in matches this week.
"We came up against opponents that were just a little too good [yesterday], but we're going to keep improving, and even on our average days, we've got the game to beat the best teams in the world."
Both players are committed to each other for the year, bucking the trend of constant switching and hoping that will make the difference.
"Oz [Oswald] and I have both been frustrated by the chopping and changing on the doubles tour and how short-term everyone's thinking is," said Daniell.
"We're both in a situation and position where we want to have something long-term and build as a team. That's always the theory I've held as to how to have long-term results. The other thing is we have the same philosophy about how to play good doubles."