13 Jan 2016

Venus knocked out of ASB Classic

6:08 am on 13 January 2016

Michael Venus has failed to live up to last year's heroics at his national tournament after losing in the first round of the ASB Tennis Classic in Auckland last night.

New Zealand tennis player Michael Venus in action at the ASB Classic.

New Zealand tennis player Michael Venus in action at the ASB Classic. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Venus created history last year when he became the first New Zealander to beat an overseas player at the tournament in more than a decade.

However, the 28-year-old couldn't back it up again this year, he lost to Frenchman and World No.18 Benoit Paire in straight sets.

In the first set he went down 6-4 before pushing the fifth seed to a tie break in the second.

Benoit, who was ranked over 650 places higher than Venus in the world, produced similar flare in the match to that seen by his compatriots Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gael Monfils.

In other first round matches last night, the defending champion Jiri Vesely was knocked out of the first round by Spanish eighth seed Robert Bautista Agut, while Italian sixth seed Fabio Fognini was pushed to three sets by Portugal's Joao Sousa before clinching victory.

Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber has set up a second round showdown with second seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga after Kohlschreiber beat his compatriot Benjamin Becker 7-6, 6-3.

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