You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Venus loses to Lopez in Classic thriller

NZN 9/01/2017 Angelo Risso

Kiwi doubles expert Michael Venus has come within inches of a spectacular first-round ASB Classic singles upset, edged out by sixth-seed Feliciano Lopez.

The 29-year-old Aucklander, ranked 32nd in the world on the doubles circuit, played the singles match of his life on Monday but fell to Lopez 6-3 4-6 3-6.

Neck and neck from the first game, the match ultimately went the world No.28's way as Venus struggled in the second and third sets to subdue his opponent's service.

Lopez notched 11 aces to Venus' eight, but won an impressive 87 per cent of all first-serve points.

"I think I played quite solidly at the end, I was serving well and I was aggressive," Lopez said.

"But I think he deserved the win also."

Venus, handed a wild card by Classic organisers on Saturday, zipped around the court with purpose in the first set, clearly rattling the elegant Lopez.

Each player held serve for the first five games before Venus took control, breaking Lopez after a protracted rally and going on to hold serve for a 6-3 first-set win.

The second set was similarly tense when, after Venus wasted two break points at 4-4, Lopez put his foot down to break serve and send the match into a decider.

Again little separated the pair in the third until Venus was again broken at 4-3, giving Lopez the chance to serve for the match.

The 35-year-old almost wasted the chance, going 40-0 down early on, but recovered to clinch the game and match 3-6 6-4 6-3.

Lopez will now go on to play either New Zealand Championship winner Artem Sitak or Frenchman Jeremy Chardy in the second round.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon