Michael Venus and his South African partner Raven Klaasen lost a tight semifinal in the men's doubles at Wimbledon on Thursday.

Played on Centre Court, with former England football captain David Beckham avidly watching on, they lost 6-4 6-7 7-6 6-4 to Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah, both from Colombia.

The semifinal went for three hours and five minutes with it being a contest of high-quality tennis between two world-class teams.

This was never going to be a one-sided match and the first breakthrough came when Klaasen was broken in the ninth game of the opening set, with Farah serving out the next game.

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On the second set point, Venus was unable to dig out a low ball and put it into the net.

The South African was broken again in the third game of the next set. However, Cabal double-faulted on break point in the sixth game and it ended up going to a tiebreak.

Cabal and Farah both made unforced errors at the net in it, which helped their opponents win 7-4.

In the third set tiebreak, Klaasen double faulted and Venus put a short ball into the net when attempting to flick it cross court, with those two points being decisive.

Klaasen was fortunate to come away unscathed when he was hit in the head by a return of serve from Cabal in the opening point of the fourth game.

Fortunately though he was able to continue, but Venus was broken for the first time for the day in that game.

Venus and Klaasen weren't able to wrestle that break back, so won't get to repeat last year's feat of playing in a Wimbledon final.