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Sousa glum after Classic final defeat

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 14/01/2017 Angelo Risso

Portuguese tennis player Joao Sousa has chastised himself for what he felt was a sub-par display in his ASB Classic final loss to Jack Sock.

Sousa fell 3-6, 7-5, 3-6 to the fourth-seeded American on Saturday afternoon in what appeared a closely-fought battle over three sets.

Yet the world No.44 was less than pleased with his display, telling reporters the performance paled in comparison to his quarter-final and semi-final Auckland victories.

Sousa swept aside Dutch journeyman Robin Haase on Thursday before crushing Cypriot gun Marcos Baghdatis in straight sets on Friday.

But despite scampering around the court with intent, the unseeded Sousa couldn't repeat the trick, struggling to break Sock.

"I didn't feel so good moving today on court, and he also played a great match today," Sousa said.

"I was trying to be aggressive with my forehand but I couldn't do it today and that's why I lost."

Having fought back from a break down to snatch the second set, Sousa looked primed for victory when he broke serve at 1-1 in the decider.

But the 27-year-old couldn't make his advantage count, and was immediately broken back by Sock before going on to lose a key service game at 4-3.

The loss marks his sixth ATP finals defeat from eight.

"At 2-1 I had a 40-15 and he made two good shots, two good returns with his forehand and then he was very confident and deserved it," Sousa said.

Sousa will now head to Melbourne for the Australian Open and his first match on Tuesday.

Despite the loss, the Barcelona-based Sousa felt his week in Auckland had placed him in good stead for a run deep into the grand slam tournament.

"I wish I played like yesterday or before yesterday but this is tennis, it was a final and it's not easy to play well in a final," he said.

"I feel confidence for the next tournament, 2017 is very long so I'll try to be as in shape as I can."

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