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Sitak out of Classic singles after loss

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 10/01/2017 Angelo Risso

Artem Sitak of New Zealand plays Jeremy Chardy of France © Dave Rowland/Getty Images Artem Sitak of New Zealand plays Jeremy Chardy of France Kiwi tennis player Artem Sitak is out of the ASB Classic at the first hurdle, going down in straight sets to world No.71 Jeremy Chardy

The Russian-born Sitak lost 6-4 6-2 to Chardy on Tuesday evening, struggling throughout to crack the Frenchman's serve.

Big serves were clearly the world No.1161's chief weapon in misty conditions but there wasn't much else.

As the match wore on Chardy began to assert control of the contest, winning the last four games of the second set.

"It was really cool playing a player of high calibre, like the way he's playing," Sitak said.

"I don't think I've ever played a singles match against a guy who hits that fast and that big, and it was fun to see that."

The 30-year-old, who arrived in Auckland from India barely 24 hours before the first game, had earned a Classic wildcard by winning last month's New Zealand Championships.

He impressed his home crowd early by holding serve against his much higher-ranked foe but was broken at 3-3 and couldn't salvage the set, losing 6-4.

The second set was a more straightforward affair as Chardy broke serve at 2-2 and romped through the contest.

Typically a doubles player, Sitak said the match was a great way to get his eye in for Wednesday's doubles match alongside American player Nicholas Monroe.

"For sure it's going to help me, it's going to be a great memory being out there on centre court, a main draw in a night match," Sitak said.

"I had no expectations at all, just wanted to play well and have fun, and engage with the crowd."

Sitak is also likely to pull on the New Zealand shirt in the doubles for next month's Davis Cup tie against India.

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