Top ranked New Zealand doubles player Michael Venus will take a couple weeks off to rest a minor knee injury after losing in the quarter finals of the Monte Carlo Masters.
Venus and his South African partner Raven Klaasen have been beaten 7-6 (10-8) 6-3 in 1 hr 40 by the Italian duo of Fabio Fognini and Simone Bolelli.
The Kiwi who will defend his French Open doubles title next month in Paris played with a heavily strapped knee and says at the start of the week he didn't think he would make it out onto court.
"At the beginning of the week I was on crutches for a couple of days and the doctors didn't think I would have much chance if playing at all. So to be able to get out there and play at a good level was really positive and how my knee held up was great." Venus said.
"I could have been a little bit sharper with my movement but now I am going to take a couple of weeks off and rehab it and try to get it back to full strength so we will be good to go for the rest of the clay court swing."
Venus was seeking to reach just his second Masters 1000 semi-final and he and Klaasen started well with a break of Bolelli's serve in the third game. However Venus dropped serve in the net game. Venus and Klaasen created numerous break point chances in the remainder of the set but were unable to convert and it went to a tie break.
There was a moment of controversy in the tie breaker where Fognini called the tour supervisor on court at 4-4 to complain about a call. Play was held up for several minutes but the umpires call stood and Venus and Klaasen were awarded the point.
Venus saved a set point at 5-6 but at 8-7 Klaasen lost both his service points and Fognini served the set out for the Italians.
Venus and Klaasen hit back at the start of the second set and the Kiwi played a terrific point to break Fognini in the opening service game of the set. But it went pear shaped from there as first Klaasen and then Venus were broken and the Italians took control of the match.
Fognini and Bolelli are accomplished singles players and on the slow clay courts were able to dictate much of the play from the back of the court with their heavy ground strokes pressurising Venus and Klaasen into errors on their second serves.
"It's always a little bit disappointing when we lose the match but today we put ourselves in a good position and had a couple of set points in the first set but couldn't convert and credit to the other guys." Venus said.
Despite the loss Venus is expected to climb one place to 15 in the ATP doubles rankings next week.
With Venus now resting for the next couple of weeks and Marcus Daniell nursing a wrist injury, Artem Sitak will be the only Kiwi in action in Budapest this week.